Beyond Bushmeat: Animal Contact, Injury, and Zoonotic Disease Risk in Western Uganda
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Zoonotic pathogens cause an estimated 70% of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in humans. In sub-Saharan Africa, bushmeat hunting and butchering is considered the primary risk factor for human–wildlife contact and zoonotic disease transmission, particularly for the transmission of simian retroviruses. However, hunting is only one of many activities in sub-Saharan Africa that bring people and wildlife into contact. Here, we examine human–animal interaction in western Uganda, identifying patterns of injuries from animals and contact with nonhuman primates. Additionally, we identify individual-level risk factors associated with contact. Nearly 20% (246/1,240) of participants reported either being injured by an animal or having contact with a primate over their lifetimes. The majority (51.7%) of injuries were dog bites that healed with no long-term medical consequences. The majority (76.8%) of 125 total primate contacts involved touching a carcass; however, butchering (20%), hunting (10%), and touching a live primate (10%) were also reported. Red colobus (Piliocolobus rufomitratus tephrosceles) accounted for most primate contact events. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that men who live adjacent to forest fragments are at elevated risk of animal contact and specifically primate contact. Our results provide a useful comparison to West and Central Africa where “bushmeat hunting” is the predominant paradigm for human–wildlife contact and zoonotic disease transmission.
Keywordszoonotic disease Uganda Kibale National Park risk factors
Kibale EcoHealth Project Field Staff: Joseph Abwooki Byaruhanga, John Atwooki Rusoke, Patrick Akiiki Katurama, Annet Abwooki Nyamwija, Alice Akiiki Mbabazi; Geoffrey Weny. SDWF is supported in part by a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. This work was funded by NIH Grant TW009237 as part of the joint NIH-NSF Ecology of Infectious Disease program and the UK Economic and Social Research Council.
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