Presumptive risk factors for monkeypox in rural communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Quiner, C. A., Moses, C., Monroe, B. P., Nakazawa, Y., Doty, J. B., Hughes, C. M., McCollum, A. M., Ibata, S., Malekani, J., Okitolonda, E., Carroll, D. S., & Reynolds, M. G. (2017). Presumptive risk factors for monkeypox in rural communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. PLoS One, 12(2), Article e0168664. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0168664
Monkeypox virus (MPXV), a close relative of Variola virus, is a zoonotic virus with an unknown reservoir. Interaction with infected wildlife, bites from peri-domestic animals, and bushmeat hunting are hypothesized routes of infection from wildlife to humans. Using a Risk Questionnaire, performed in monkeypox-affected areas of rural Democratic Republic of the Congo, we describe the lifestyles and demographics associated with presumptive risk factors for MPXV infection. We generated two indices to assess risk: Household Materials Index (HMI), a proxy for socioeconomic status of households and Risk Activity Index (RAI), which describes presumptive risk for animal-to-human transmission of MPXV. Based on participant self-reported activity patterns, we found that people in this population are more likely to visit the forest than a market to fulfill material needs, and that the reported occupation is limited in describing behavior of individuals may participate. Being bitten by rodents in the home was commonly reported, and this was significantly associated with a low HMI. The highest scoring RAI sub-groups were 'hunters' and males aged ≥ 18 years; however, several activities involving MPXV-implicated animals were distributed across all sub-groups. The current analysis may be useful in identifying at-risk groups and help to direct education, outreach and prevention efforts more efficiently.