[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To diagnose respiratory disease among wild great apes, there is a need for noninvasive diagnostic methods. Therefore, we analyzed fecal samples from habituated chimpanzees from Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. Samples had been collected during four distinct outbreaks: two with known aetiology (March 2004 and February 2006) and two with unknown aetiology (October 2004 and August 2005). Fecal samples were screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the presence of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), two paramyxoviruses previously found in lung tissue of chimpanzees that died due to respiratory disease. In the March 2004 outbreak, 72% of the tested individuals were positive for HMPV, and during the 2006 epidemic, 25% tested HRSV-positive. In the outbreaks where no causative pathogen was previously known, fecal samples tested positive for either HRSV or HMPV, showing that reinfection occurred. Virus sequences were generated and compared with sequences previously found in tissue; nearly identical virus sequences in both tissue and fecal samples were found. These results demonstrate that fecal samples collected during outbreak times can be used for the diagnostic and phylogenetic analysis of HMPV and HRSV. Using such diagnostic tools, systematic noninvasive disease investigation of respiratory outbreaks in wild great apes becomes possible. The methods presented here may also be applied for the investigation of further acute diseases in great apes and other species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Commercial hunting and habitat loss are major drivers of the rapid decline of great apes . Ecotourism and research have been widely promoted as a means of providing alternative value for apes and their habitats . However, close contact between humans and habituated apes during ape tourism and research has raised concerns that disease transmission risks might outweigh benefits [3-7]. To date only bacterial and parasitic infections of typically low virulence have been shown to move from humans to wild apes [8, 9]. Here, we present the first direct evidence of virus transmission from humans to wild apes. Tissue samples from habituated chimpanzees that died during three respiratory-disease outbreaks at our research site, Côte d'Ivoire, contained two common human paramyxoviruses. Viral strains sampled from chimpanzees were closely related to strains circulating in contemporaneous, worldwide human epidemics. Twenty-four years of mortality data from observed chimpanzees reveal that such respiratory outbreaks could have a long history. In contrast, survey data show that research presence has had a strong positive effect in suppressing poaching around the research site. These observations illustrate the challenge of maximizing the benefit of research and tourism to great apes while minimizing the negative side effects.
Current Biology 03/2008; 18(4):260-4. · 9.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, sudden deaths which were preceded by respiratory problems had been observed since 1999. Two new clones of Streptococcus pneumoniae were identified in deceased apes on the basis of multilocus sequence typing analysis and ply, lytA, and pbp2x sequences. The findings suggest that virulent S. pneumoniae occurs in populations of wild chimpanzees with the potential to cause infections similar to those observed in humans.
Journal of Bacteriology 09/2007; 189(16):6085-8. · 3.19 Impact Factor