Mountain Gorilla Followup

Arielle Cratsenberg (11 AM lecture) found some more information regarding the sad plight of the Mountain Gorillas from last week.   Take it away Arielle:

A couple days ago it was proven that respiratory diseases from humans to mountain gorillas are linked. The researchers are from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, and the Rwanda Development Board.  Their study has reported 2009 deaths of two mountain gorillas, which were infected with a human virus.  There are less than 800 living mountain gorillas left, so every animal is needed to revive their species.  Many people are making efforts in protecting the species (Gorilla beringei beringel) but while making these efforts they are still around thousands of people.  Gorilla tourism, protection of them in national parks in Rwanda, and veterinarians all cause the interaction between the gorillas and humans.

Traumatic injury and infectious disease are the most common reasons of death among these gorillas.  The respiratory disease associated with them range from colds to severe Pneumonia.  One of the groups studied was the Hirwa group in Rwanda.  The infected gorillas showed signs of coughing, eye and nose discharge, and fatigue.  Within the group of 12 studied, all but one was sick and two died.  A tissue analyses showed a RNA virus called human metapneumovirus(HMPV) in both of the dead animals.

BONUS opportunity: Identify in the comment thread other diseases of animals, which have humans as the potential reservoir (e.g. the opposite of a zoonosis.)


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on April 4, 2011, in Bonus!, Guest Post, Microbes in the News. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. A bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus causes a skin disease “Furunculosis” in people. In cattle, it causes a mammary gland infection called “mastitis” as well as the skin condition, Furunculosis. The agent responsible for causing Scarlet Fever in people, a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, causes mastitis in cattle.

  2. Brittany MacFadden

    Humans are the major host and reservoir of the leprosy bacillus… the same pathogen can be given to animals like armadillos, chimpanzees and Mangabey monkeys. The bacterium is M. leprae and it is not only isolated in humans, it is found in soil in Bombay and other environmental sources.

    • So does that mean they could use the hind foot pad of a gorilla to culture it?

      Do you have a citation for your statement that humans are the major reservoir for M. leprae? I am a bit skeptical of that, as there would likely be more cases of leprosy if humans were the primary reservoir of the organism.

  3. Borrelia is a genus of bacteria of the spirochete phylum. It causes lime disease which we have coverd in class. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks. It can spread throughout the body during the course of the disease, and has been found in the skin, heart, joint, peripheral nervous system, and central nervous system.

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