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Infectious Diseases in Free-Ranging Blonde Capuchins, Sapajus flavius, in Brazil

Abstract

The main threats to primates worldwide are the degradation, fragmentation, and loss of their habitats; hunting (especially for bushmeat); and illegal trade. For many species, the most important threat is forest fragmentation, resulting in small populations that are restricted to isolated forest patches. In this situation, primates are particularly vulnerable to disease. The Endangered blonde capuchin (Sapajus flavius) is now restricted to a few forest patches in Northeast Brazil. We investigated the occurrence of parasites and bacterial diseases in one of three free-ranging groups of S. flavius in a small forest patch in Paraíba state, Northeast Brazil. We tested for antibodies against Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma cruzi, Toxoplasma gondii, Leptospira spp. (24 strains), and Brucella spp.. We used molecular analysis to detect Plasmodium spp., and evaluated blood smears for the presence of hemoparasites. All individuals tested negative for Leptospira spp. and B. abortus, but 8 of 48 (16%) presented antibodies for both Leishmania spp. and T. cruzi. We identified antibodies to T. gondii in 12% of the individuals tested. Plasmodium brasilianum infection was present in 4% of the individuals tested, and blood smears showed microfilariae parasites in 46% of the individuals tested. The occurrence of these infectious diseases in S. flavius may pose a significant threat in terms of reduced recruitment and poor survival rates, and an understanding of the influence of pathogens is crucial for the management of small populations of primates.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank the financial support by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo-FAPESP (09/51466-4; 09/53561-4) and Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBIO/CPB). We are grateful to Livia Abdalla (Programa Institucional Biodiversidade e Saúde, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz) for creating the map (Fig. 1). J. L. Catão-Dias, M. D. Laurenti, and S. M. Gennari are recipients of a fellowship from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). We are also grateful for the constructive comments made by the editor and reviewer and for the corrections and suggestions made by Dr. Anthony B. Rylands (Conservation International) for improving the paper.

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Correspondence to Marina Galvão Bueno.

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Bueno, M.G., Catão-Dias, J.L., de Oliveira Laroque, P. et al. Infectious Diseases in Free-Ranging Blonde Capuchins, Sapajus flavius, in Brazil. Int J Primatol 38, 1017–1031 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-017-9994-5

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Keywords

  • Atlantic Forest
  • Blonde capuchin monkey
  • Conservation
  • Pathogens