, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 803-826

Primate Conservation: The Prevention of Disease Transmission

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We address the strategies to prevent disease transmission from human to non-human primates in natural settings. Some field research methods, such as gaining close proximity for observation, provisioning for habituation, or reintroducing for repopulation, may place primate subjects at risk for acquiring human-carried diseases. Additional risks arise through inadequate waste disposal or nonhygienic conditions of humans residing at the study site. We describe several disease outbreaks at primate field sites, emphasizing the need for proper protocols to diagnose, to treat, and to prevent recurrence. Finding solutions to the disease transmission problem requires effecting change in the behavior and policies of many individuals, including field researchers, veterinarians, human health care providers, park personnel, government officials, local villagers, and tourists. The prevention of exposure to infectious disease is an important, fundamental aspect of primate conservation; the assurance of good health and longevity in wild primate populations is paramount to the more traditional conservation issues of poaching control and forest protection.