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Translating Predictions of Zoonotic Viruses for Policymakers


Recent outbreaks of Ebola virus disease and Zika virus disease highlight the need for disseminating accurate predictions of emerging zoonotic viruses to national governments for disease surveillance and response. Although there are published maps for many emerging zoonotic viruses, it is unknown if there is agreement among different models or if they are concordant with national expert opinion. Therefore, we reviewed existing predictions for five high priority emerging zoonotic viruses with national experts in Cameroon to investigate these issues and determine how to make predictions more useful for national policymakers. Predictive maps relied primarily on environmental parameters and species distribution models. Rift Valley fever virus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus predictions differed from national expert opinion, potentially because of local livestock movements. Our findings reveal that involving national experts could elicit additional data to improve predictions of emerging pathogens as well as help repackage predictions for policymakers.

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