Pathogens as drivers of population declines: The importance of systematic monitoring in great apes and other threatened mammals
Until recently, the focus of great ape behavioural and ecological research has been distinct from the focus of scientists working in medical and veterinary sciences. More scientists are calling for a connection between medical and field research due to recent disease outbreaks in great apes, including Ebola, and indications of cross-transmission of Ebola and other viruses between primates and humans. A major limitation to progress is the lack of information on infectious diseases and their transmission in wild primates. Here, we present examples of successful pathogen detection in wild great apes and describe approaches and techniques that can be used in the field, focusing in particular on investigation of deaths and non-invasive sample collection. This interdisciplinary approach is providing new insights to infectious diseases of great apes and is helping to protect the health of great ape populations. This framework can also be applied to other mammals under threat from infectious diseases, including African wild dogs, seals and Tasmanian devils. In addition to providing benefits for great ape conservation, research that integrates infectious disease with primate ecology provides insights to emerging diseases in humans and the role of disease in primate evolution. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Leendertz, FH; Pauli, G; Maetz-Rensing, K; Boardman, W; Nunn, C; Ellerbrok, H; Jensen, SA; Junglen, S; Christophe, B
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