The 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2019)


Chimpanzee reverse zoonoses: unfortunate natural experiments in great ape comparative medicine and demography

TONY L. GOLDBERG1, SARMI BASNET2, MELISSA EMERY-THOMPSON3, JAMES E. GERN2, KRISTINE A. GRINDLE2, KEVIN E. LANGENGRABER4, ZARIN MACHANDA5, JOHN C. MITANI6, MARTIN M. MULLER3, JACOB D. NEGREY7, EMILY OTALI8, LEAH OWENS1, ANN C. PALMENBERG9, TRESSA E. PAPPAS2, SARAH PHILLIPS-GARCIA3, RACHNA B. REDDY6, ERIK J. SCULLY10 and RICHARD W. WRANGHAM10.

1School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, 4Department of Anthropology, Arizona State Univeristy, 5Department of Anthropology, Tufts University, 6Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, 7Department of Anthropology, Boston University, 8Makerere University Biological Field Station, Makerere University, 9Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 10Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

March 29, 2019 9:00, CC Ballroom A Add to calendar

Over 31 years, 27% of deaths in the Kanyawara chimpanzee community of Kibale National Park, Uganda, were attributable to respiratory disease – a pattern mirrored at other long-term research sites – and evidence points to human origins for most infections. Here, we report comparative data on viral respiratory disease in the chimpanzees of Ngogo and Kanyawara communities in Kibale. Epidemiological modeling estimated the basic reproduction number (R0 a measure of transmissibility) of three recent outbreaks as ranging from 1.27 to 1.83, which are similar to values for the “common cold” in humans. Affected chimpanzees showed age-related patterns of morbidity similar to those in humans, with infants and older adults most severely affected. Gross pathology resembled that in humans suffering severe infections (e.g. deep lung consolidation, pericardial effusions, persistent wheezing likely due to emphysema). For one pathogen, rhinovirus C, genotyping of the CDHR3 locus (the viral receptor) showed chimpanzees from Kibale and across Africa to be universally susceptible, similar to Neanderthals and Denisovans, but different from modern humans, who possess a recently evolved protective allele. This observation may explain similarities between chimpanzee infections and infections of asthmatic human children. Overall, our analyses show that infected chimpanzees in Kibale recapitulate the most severe forms of human disease, and that demographic correlates of infection are similar between chimpanzees and humans. If so, human infection of, for example, asthmatic children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised may serve as the best models for understanding chimpanzee infection with respiratory viruses of human origin.

Comparative analyses of human and chimpanzee demography, aging and health were supported by NIH Award 5R01AG049395 through the National Institute for Aging and the Office of Research on Women’s Health.