Limbe Wildlife Center

Limbe, Cameroon

Limbe Wildlife Center

Limbe, Cameroon

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Sharp C.P.,University of Edinburgh | LeBreton M.,Global Viral Forecasting | Kantola K.,University of Helsinki | Nana A.,Global Viral Forecasting | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Virology | Year: 2010

Infections with human parvoviruses B19 and recently discovered human bocaviruses (HBoVs) are widespread, while PARV4 infections are transmitted parenterally and prevalent specifically in injecting drug users and hemophiliacs. To investigate the exposure and circulation of parvoviruses related to B19 virus, PARV4, and HBoV in nonhuman primates, plasma samples collected from 73 Cameroonian wild-caught chimpanzees and gorillas and 91 Old World monkey (OWM) species were screened for antibodies to recombinant B19 virus, PARV4, and HBoV VP2 antigens by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Moderate to high frequencies of seroreactivity to PARV4 (63% and 18% in chimpanzees and gorillas, respectively), HBoV (73% and 36%), and B19 virus (8% and 27%) were recorded for apes, while OWMs were uniformly negative (for PARV4 and B19 virus) or infrequently reactive (3% for HBoV). For genetic characterization, plasma samples and 54 fecal samples from chimpanzees and gorillas collected from Cameroonian forest floors were screened by PCR with primers conserved within Erythrovirus, Bocavirus, and PARV4 genera. Two plasma samples (chimpanzee and baboon) were positive for PARV4, while four fecal samples were positive for HBoV-like viruses. The chimpanzee PARV4 variant showed 18% and 15% nucleotide sequence divergence in NS and VP1/2, respectively, from human variants (9% and 7% amino acid, respectively), while the baboon variant was substantially more divergent, mirroring host phylogeny. Ape HBoV variants showed complex sequence relationships with human viruses, comprising separate divergent homologues of HBoV1 and the recombinant HBoV3 species in chimpanzees and a novel recombinant species in gorillas. This study provides the first evidence for widespread circulation of parvoviruses in primates and enables future investigations of their epidemiology, host specificity, and (co)evolutionary histories. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Harvala H.,Royal Infirmary | Harvala H.,University of Edinburgh | McIntyre C.L.,University of Edinburgh | Imai N.,University of Edinburgh | And 18 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

To estimate population exposure of apes and Old World monkeys in Africa to enteroviruses (EVs), we conducted a seroepidemiologic study of serotype-specific neutralizing antibodies against 3 EV types. Detection of species A, B, and D EVs infecting wild chimpanzees demonstrates their potential widespread circulation in primates.


PubMed | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Metabiota, British Petroleum, Stanford University and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Emerging microbes & infections | Year: 2015

Of the seven known species of human retroviruses only one, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 4 (HTLV-4), lacks a known animal reservoir. We report the largest screening for simian T-cell lymphotropic virus (STLV-4) to date in a wide range of captive and wild non-human primate (NHP) species from Cameroon. Among the 681 wild and 426 captive NHPs examined, we detected STLV-4 infection only among gorillas by using HTLV-4-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The large number of samples analyzed, the diversity of NHP species examined, the geographic distribution of infected animals relative to the known HTLV-4 case, as well as detailed phylogenetic analyses on partial and full genomes, indicate that STLV-4 is endemic to gorillas, and that rather than being an ancient virus among humans, HTLV-4 emerged from a gorilla reservoir, likely through the hunting and butchering of wild gorillas. Our findings shed further light on the importance of gorillas as keystone reservoirs for the evolution and emergence of human infectious diseases and provide a clear course for preventing HTLV-4 emergence through management of human contact with wild gorillas, the development of improved assays for HTLV-4/STLV-4 detection and the ongoing monitoring of STLV-4 among gorillas and for HTLV-4 zoonosis among individuals exposed to gorilla populations.


PubMed | Montpellier University, British Petroleum, University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University and 23 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2014

Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America but is absent from most of central Africa due to the near fixation of a mutation that inhibits the expression of its receptor, the Duffy antigen, on human erythrocytes. The emergence of this protective allele is not understood because P. vivax is believed to have originated in Asia. Here we show, using a non-invasive approach, that wild chimpanzees and gorillas throughout central Africa are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human P. vivax. Sequence analyses reveal that ape parasites lack host specificity and are much more diverse than human parasites, which form a monophyletic lineage within the ape parasite radiation. These findings indicate that human P. vivax is of African origin and likely selected for the Duffy-negative mutation. All extant human P. vivax parasites are derived from a single ancestor that escaped out of Africa.


PubMed | Ghent University, University of Lisbon, WWF, University of Helsinki and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Veterinary microbiology | Year: 2014

A number of Helicobacter species cause gastrointestinal or hepatic disease in humans, including H. pylori, gastric non-H. pylori helicobacters from animal origin and enterohepatic Helicobacter species. Little is known on the presence of Helicobacter species in great apes, our closest living relatives and potential reservoirs of microorganisms that might emerge in humans. The aim of the present study was to investigate the presence of gastric and enterohepatic Helicobacter species in African chimpanzees and gorillas. Fresh fecal samples were collected from wild endangered chimpanzees and critically endangered western lowland gorillas from different African National Parks, as well as wild-born captive animals from primate sanctuaries. Intact Helicobacter bacteria were demonstrated in feces by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Screening using a Helicobacter genus-specific PCR revealed the presence of Helicobacter DNA in the majority of animals in all groups. Cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA gene fragments revealed a high homology to sequences from various zoonotic enterohepatic Helicobacter species, including H. cinaedi and H. canadensis. A number of gorillas and chimpanzees also tested positive using PCR assays designed to amplify part of the ureAB gene cluster and the hsp60 gene of gastric helicobacters. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of a putative novel zoonotic gastric Helicobacter taxon/species. For this species, we propose the name Candidatus Helicobacter homininae, pending isolation and further genetic characterization. The presence of several Helicobacter species not only implies a possible health threat for these endangered great apes, but also a possible zoonotic transmission of gastric and enterohepatic helicobacters from these primate reservoirs to humans.


Lyons S.,University of Edinburgh | Sharp C.,University of Edinburgh | Sharp C.,Roslin Institute | LeBreton M.,Stanford University | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are widely distributed in humans, infecting approximately one third of the world's population. HBV variants have also been detected and genetically characterised from Old World apes; Gorilla gorilla (gorilla), Pan troglodytes (chimpanzee), Pongo pygmaeus (orang-utan), Nomascus nastusus and Hylobates pileatus (gibbons) and from the New World monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha (woolly monkey). To investigate species-specificity and potential for cross species transmission of HBV between sympatric species of apes (such as gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa) or between humans and chimpanzees or gorillas, variants of HBV infecting captive wild-born non-human primates were genetically characterised. 9 of 62 chimpanzees (11.3%) and two from 11 gorillas (18%) were HBV-infected (15% combined frequency), while other Old world monkey species were negative. Complete genome sequences were obtained from six of the infected chimpanzee and both gorillas; those from P. t. ellioti grouped with previously characterised variants from this subspecies. However, variants recovered from P. t. troglodytes HBV variants also grouped within this clade, indicative of transmission between sub-species, forming a paraphyletic clade. The two gorilla viruses were phylogenetically distinct from chimpanzee and human variants although one showed evidence for a recombination event with a P.t.e.-derived HBV variant in the partial X and core gene region. Both of these observations provide evidence for circulation of HBV between different species and sub-species of non-human primates, a conclusion that differs from the hypothesis if of strict host specificity of HBV genotypes. © 2012 Lyons et al.


Pomajbikova K.,University of Veterinary And Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno | Obornik M.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Obornik M.,University of South Bohemia | Horak A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 11 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2013

Balantidiasis is considered a neglected zoonotic disease with pigs serving as reservoir hosts. However, Balantidium coli has been recorded in many other mammalian species, including primates. Here, we evaluated the genetic diversity of B. coli in non-human primates using two gene markers (SSrDNA and ITS1-5.8SDNA-ITS2). We analyzed 49 isolates of ciliates from fecal samples originating from 11 species of captive and wild primates, domestic pigs and wild boar. The phylogenetic trees were computed using Bayesian inference and Maximum likelihood. Balantidium entozoon from edible frog and Buxtonella sulcata from cattle were included in the analyses as the closest relatives of B. coli, as well as reference sequences of vestibuliferids. The SSrDNA tree showed the same phylogenetic diversification of B. coli at genus level as the tree constructed based on the ITS region. Based on the polymorphism of SSrDNA sequences, the type species of the genus, namely B. entozoon, appeared to be phylogenetically distinct from B. coli. Thus, we propose a new genus Neobalantidium for the homeothermic clade. Moreover, several isolates from both captive and wild primates (excluding great apes) clustered with B. sulcata with high support, suggesting the existence of a new species within this genus. The cysts of Buxtonella and Neobalantidium are morphologically indistinguishable and the presence of Buxtonella-like ciliates in primates opens the question about possible occurrence of these pathogens in humans. © 2013 Pomajbíková et al.


LeBreton M.,Tech Data | LeBreton M.,British Petroleum | LeBreton M.,Metabiota | Switzer W.M.,National Center for HIV | And 18 more authors.
Emerging Microbes and Infections | Year: 2014

Of the seven known species of human retroviruses only one, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 4 (HTLV-4), lacks a known animal reservoir. We report the largest screening for simian T-cell lymphotropic virus (STLV-4) to date in a wide range of captive and wild non-human primate (NHP) species from Cameroon. Among the 681 wild and 426 captive NHPs examined, we detected STLV-4 infection only among gorillas by using HTLV-4-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The large number of samples analyzed, the diversity of NHP species examined, the geographic distribution of infected animals relative to the known HTLV-4 case, as well as detailed phylogenetic analyses on partial and full genomes, indicate that STLV-4 is endemic to gorillas, and that rather than being an ancient virus among humans, HTLV-4 emerged from a gorilla reservoir, likely through the hunting and butchering of wild gorillas. Our findings shed further light on the importance of gorillas as keystone reservoirs for the evolution and emergence of human infectious diseases and provide a clear course for preventing HTLV-4 emergence through management of human contact with wild gorillas, the development of improved assays for HTLV-4/STLV-4 detection and the ongoing monitoring of STLV-4 among gorillas and for HTLV-4 zoonosis among individuals exposed to gorilla populations. © 2014 SSCC.


Lankester F.,Limbe Wildlife Center | Kiyang J.A.,Limbe Wildlife Center | Bailey W.,Clinical Parasitology Laboratory | Unwin S.,Chester Zoo
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2010

A 7-yr-old female western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) shared an enclosure with 10 other gorillas at the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC), a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Cameroon. The gorilla had been living at the LWC for more than 6 yr prior to the exhibition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-like clinical signs. The gorilla improved dramatically after metronidazole therapy. The report suggests that metronidazole was effective because it eliminated the protozoa, Dientamoeba fragilis. Dientamoeba fragilis should be considered on the differential diagnosis list of any captive gorilla with IBS-like symptoms. © 2010 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Ghobrial L.,Albany State University | Lankester F.,Limbe Wildlife Center | Kiyang J.A.,Limbe Wildlife Center | Akih A.E.,Limbe Wildlife Center | And 5 more authors.
BMC Ecology | Year: 2010

Background: While wild chimpanzees are experiencing drastic population declines, their numbers at African rescue and rehabilitation projects are growing rapidly. Chimpanzees follow complex routes to these refuges; and their geographic origins are often unclear. Identifying areas where hunting occurs can help law enforcement authorities focus scarce resources for wildlife protection planning. Efficiently focusing these resources is particularly important in Cameroon because this country is a key transportation waypoint for international wildlife crime syndicates. Furthermore, Cameroon is home to two chimpanzee subspecies, which makes ascertaining the origins of these chimpanzees important for reintroduction planning and for scientific investigations involving these chimpanzees.Results: We estimated geographic origins of 46 chimpanzees from the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC) in Cameroon. Using Bayesian approximation methods, we determined their origins using mtDNA sequences and microsatellite (STRP) genotypes compared to a spatial map of georeferenced chimpanzee samples from 10 locations spanning Cameroon and Nigeria. The LWC chimpanzees come from multiple regions of Cameroon or forested areas straddling the Cameroon-Nigeria border. The LWC chimpanzees were partitioned further as originating from one of three biogeographically important zones occurring in Cameroon, but we were unable to refine these origin estimates to more specific areas within these three zones.Conclusions: Our findings suggest that chimpanzee hunting is widespread across Cameroon. Live animal smuggling appears to occur locally within Cameroon, despite the existence of local wildlife cartels that operate internationally. This pattern varies from the illegal wildlife trade patterns observed in other commercially valuable species, such as elephants, where specific populations are targeted for exploitation. A broader sample of rescued chimpanzees compared against a more comprehensive grid of georeferenced samples may reveal 'hotspots' of chimpanzee hunting and live animal transport routes in Cameroon. These results illustrate also that clarifying the origins of refuge chimpanzees is an important tool for designing reintroduction programs. Finally, chimpanzees at refuges are frequently used in scientific investigations, such as studies investigating the history of zoonotic diseases. Our results provide important new information for interpreting these studies within a precise geographical framework. © 2010 Ghobrial et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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