Conducting research and surveillance of epidemics in wildlife and possibility of disease transmission between people and wildlife

Research has shown that approximately 2/3 (60.3%) of the emerging infectious diseases in humans are sourced from animals, and of these, approximately ¾ (71.8%) originated from wildlife. Human encroachment into natural wildlife habitat and the increase in wildlife farming practices and pet trade provides an opportunity for the transmission of diseases from wild species to humans. The recent pandemic COVID-19 is also understood to originate from wildlife.

In Viet Nam, the illegal wildlife trade and farming represents an important threat to human and domestic animal health as wildlife farms and traders do not operate using the same health and hygiene standards as livestock farms. The health status of wild animals illegally traded is not checked and therefore the IWT could lead to the introduction of a large number of diseases in human populations. Ensuring a high level of public health in Viet Nam is a key priority for the Vietnamese Government and therefore the risk of disease transmission is a strong argument to ban the IWT.

WCS Viet Nam veterinarians collaborate with Vietnamese research, academic, government management authorities and One Health partners to target thought-to-be-high-risk sites for disease surveillance and early detection of zoonotic risk transmission between livestock, wildlife and humans. The sites include markets selling wildlife, restaurants serving wild meat, wildlife farms, wildlife rescue centers and sanctuaries, and sites where wildlife are found in and around human dwellings.

At the same time, we promote passive and active surveillance of wildlife epidemics along with organizing series of wildlife morbidity/mortality report trainings for forest rangers, national parks and protected area’s staffs, and develop procedures on wildlife health surveillance with the aim of building and optimizing wildlife health management and monitoring systems.


Key achievement

  • Worked with governmental partners to develop national strategy documents or standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed to operationalize an effective wildlife health surveillance system in the country;
  • Evaluated Viet Nam’s current animal health surveillance/management system to identify opportunities to include a wildlife component, especially at high-risk wildlife-human interfaces;
  • Explored practical and sustainable mechanisms to develop a network of partners contributing to wildlife health surveillance in Viet Nam;
  • Conducted wildlife disease surveillance for selected EDP agents of national concern, s including Rickettsia prowazekii, Yersinia pestis, Corona viruses, African Swine Fever virus, and Avian influenza virus;
  • Provided related training to forest rangers, national park and reserve staff, laboratory staff, wildlife managers, veterinarians, and other local entities in collaboration with Viet Nam national agencies and institutions, and international organizations. The PREDICT project developed the One Health Workforce by training more than 200 people in Viet Nam. (2014-2019)
  • Over 6,700 animals and people were sampled to operationalize the One Health Surveillance for helping minimize the spillover of zoonotic disease threats from animals into human populations. About 35,370 tests had been done. Of which, 44 viruses were detected, including 18 known and 26 novel viruses. (2014 – 2019)
  • Published the paper “Coronavirus testing indicates transmission risk increases along wildlife supply chain for human consumption in Viet Nam, 2013-2014” in PLOS ONE on Aug 10, 2020.
  • Diagnosed 1235 samples collected on 1079 wildlife species (bats, small carnivores and pangolins) to detect Corona-virus and SARS-COV-2 virus (causing COVID-19); and 4 viruses belongs to the Coronavirus family have been detected;Diagnosed 587 serum samples in humans who exposed to wildlife in Dong Nai province and Ha Noi and detected 2 samples positive for Corona-virus;