, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 89-98
Date: 14 Aug 2012

Epidemiological study of zoonoses derived from humans in captive chimpanzees

Abstract

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in wildlife are major threats both to human health and to biodiversity conservation. An estimated 71.8 % of zoonotic EID events are caused by pathogens in wildlife and the incidence of such diseases is increasing significantly in humans. In addition, human diseases are starting to infect wildlife, especially non-human primates. The chimpanzee is an endangered species that is threatened by human activity such as deforestation, poaching, and human disease transmission. Recently, several respiratory disease outbreaks that are suspected of having been transmitted by humans have been reported in wild chimpanzees. Therefore, we need to study zoonotic pathogens that can threaten captive chimpanzees in primate research institutes. Serological surveillance is one of several methods used to reveal infection history. We examined serum from 14 captive chimpanzees in Japanese primate research institutes for antibodies against 62 human pathogens and 1 chimpanzee-borne infectious disease. Antibodies tested positive against 29 pathogens at high or low prevalence in the chimpanzees. These results suggest that the proportions of human-borne infections may reflect the chimpanzee’s history, management system in the institute, or regional epidemics. Furthermore, captive chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human pathogens, and their induced antibodies reveal not only their history of infection, but also the possibility of protection against human pathogens.