The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

From the mouths of monkeys: Tuberculosis among synanthropic primates


1National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, 2Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University

Thursday 10:15-10:30, Ballroom A Add to calendar

Tuberculosis has been considered a serious threat to laboratory nonhuman primates (NHP) for at least a century. Little is known about TB’s prevalence in natural populations. The disease is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) bacteria and is rampant in areas of Asia, Africa, and South America, with >7 million new cases in 2010. These high-endemicity areas are also home to the majority of the world’s NHP species. South and Southeast Asian human populations are unique in the world for their close, often intimate, relationships with NHP. NHP are kept as pets or performance animals, and are also found in temples, zoos, wildlife reserves, and urban settings.

We have shown previously that synanthropic (those that thrive in human-altered environments) NHP are at increased risk for human-associated diseases. Here, we tested 763 monkeys and 338 humans from South and SE Asia, which had varying degrees of interspecific contact, for the presence of MTBC nucleic acids in their mouths. Our data show that, in areas/contexts with the highest human prevalence of MTBC DNA in buccal swabs, NHP in the same context are also likely to have DNA from MTBC in their mouths at a similar frequency. Pet and temple NHP are significantly more likely than NHP in any other context to be positive for MTBC presence, and these results are consistent across time and by country.

Contract grant sponsor: NIH-NCRR; Contract grant numbers: P51 RR000166; RR 02S014; Contract grant sponsor: HIH-NIAID; Contract grant numbers: R01 AI078229; R03 AI064865; Contract grant sponsor: DARPA; contract grant number: N66001-02-C-8072; Contract grant sponsor: Unconventional Concepts Inc; Contract grant sponsor, Unconventional Concepts Inc; Contract grant sponsor: Chicago Zoological Society; Contract grant sponsor: University of New Mexico Research Allocations Committee; Contract grant sponsor: Arizona State University Late Lessons from Early History Private Grant

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