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EcoHealth

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 499–510 | Cite as

Codetection of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Habituated Wild Western Lowland Gorillas and Humans During a Respiratory Disease Outbreak

  • Kim S. Grützmacher
  • Sophie Köndgen
  • Verena Keil
  • Angelique Todd
  • Anna Feistner
  • Ilka Herbinger
  • Klara Petrzelkova
  • Terrence Fuh
  • Siv Aina Leendertz
  • Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer
  • Fabian H. LeendertzEmail author
Original Contribution

Abstract

Pneumoviruses have been identified as causative agents in several respiratory disease outbreaks in habituated wild great apes. Based on phylogenetic evidence, transmission from humans is likely. However, the pathogens have never been detected in the local human population prior to or at the same time as an outbreak. Here, we report the first simultaneous detection of a human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) infection in western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and in the local human population at a field program in the Central African Republic. A total of 15 gorilla and 15 human fecal samples and 80 human throat swabs were tested for HRSV, human metapneumovirus, and other respiratory viruses. We were able to obtain identical sequences for HRSV A from four gorillas and four humans. In contrast, we did not detect HRSV or any other classic human respiratory virus in gorilla fecal samples in two other outbreaks in the same field program. Enterovirus sequences were detected but the implication of these viruses in the etiology of these outbreaks remains speculative. Our findings of HRSV in wild but human-habituated gorillas underline, once again, the risk of interspecies transmission from humans to endangered great apes.

Keywords

respiratory disease respiratory syncytial virus enterovirus western lowland gorillas great apes noninvasive detection 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the government of the Central African Republic for long-term support, especially the Ministère d’Eaux et Fôret, Chasse et Peche and the Ministère de l’Education Nationale, de l’Alphabetisation, de l’Enseignement Superieur, et de la Recherche. In particular, we thank Jean-Baptiste Mamang-Kanga, Guian Zokoe, and Christian Ndadet. We thank the staff of DSPA and especially of the Primate Habituation Programme, for logistical support in the field, and WWF for their support at DSPA and in Bangui. We would also like to thank the Hans Böckler Stiftung, the EAZA Ape Conservation Fund, Zoo Leipzig, and WWF Germany for support and funding. KJP worked under institutional support of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (RVO: 68081766).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim S. Grützmacher
    • 1
  • Sophie Köndgen
    • 1
  • Verena Keil
    • 1
  • Angelique Todd
    • 3
  • Anna Feistner
    • 3
  • Ilka Herbinger
    • 2
  • Klara Petrzelkova
    • 4
    • 5
  • Terrence Fuh
    • 3
  • Siv Aina Leendertz
    • 1
  • Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer
    • 1
  • Fabian H. Leendertz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Project group Epidemiology of Highly Pathogenic MicroorganismsRobert Koch-InstituteBerlinGermany
  2. 2.World Wildlife Fund (WWF) GermanyBerlinGermany
  3. 3.World Wildlife Fund (WWF)BayangaCentral African Republic
  4. 4.Institute of Vertebrate BiologyAcademy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Biology Centre, Institute of ParasitologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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