Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc.

Baltimore Highlands, MD, United States

Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc.

Baltimore Highlands, MD, United States

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Gilardi K.V.K.,University of California at Davis | Oxford K.L.,University of California at Davis | Gardner-Roberts D.,ARMAC Veterinary Group | Gardner-Roberts D.,Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc. | And 7 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

In 2007, we detected human herpes simplex virus type 1, which caused stomatitis, in a juvenile confiscated eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) that had a high degree of direct contact with human caretakers. Our findings confirm that pathogens can transfer between nonhuman primate hosts and humans. © 2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.


Whittier C.A.,North Carolina State University | Whittier C.A.,Smithsonian Institution | Milligan L.A.,University of California at Berkeley | Nutter F.B.,Tufts University | And 2 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2011

Published data on milk composition for nonhuman primates, especially great apes, are lacking. Milk composition data are important for understanding the physiology and evolution of mammalian milk production, as well as the nutritional requirements of infants. For many primate species these data have added relevance because of the need to hand raise infants orphaned by poaching or separated from their mothers in captivity. The proximate composition (dry matter (DM), protein, fat, sugar) of free-ranging mountain gorilla (MG) (Gorilla beringei beringei) milk was characterized from samples (N = 10) collected opportunistically during field procedures. The mean values for mid-lactation (1-50 months) milk samples from healthy MGs (N = 7) were: 10.7% DM, 1.9% fat, 1.4% crude protein, 6.8% sugar, and 0.53kcal/g. These results are lower in fat and total energy than most other Hominidae, including humans. One early-lactation sample was high in protein content while the composition of two samples from gorillas with poor health and suspected poor milk quality both deviated from the normal, mid-lactation pattern. This survey adds to the data available for primate milk composition and suggests that wild MG infants normally consume milk that is lower in fat and total energy than human milk. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Palacios G.,Columbia University | Lowenstine L.J.,University of California at Davis | Cranfield M.R.,University of California at Davis | Gilardi K.V.K.,University of California at Davis | And 10 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2011

The genetic relatedness of mountain gorillas and humans has led to concerns about interspecies transmission of infectious agents. Human-to-gorilla transmission may explain human metapneumovirus in 2 wild mountain gorillas that died during a respiratory disease outbreak in Rwanda in 2009. Surveillance is needed to ensure survival of these critically endangered animals.


Kinani J.-F.,Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc. | Zimmerman D.,University of California at Davis
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2015

On May 14, 2013, a wild, human-habituated, juvenile female mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda was observed utilizing a tool to acquire food. The young gorilla watched an adult male use his hand to collect ants from a hole in the ground, and then quickly withdrew his hand and move away from the hole, shaking his arm to presumably remove biting ants. The juvenile female engaged in similar behavior, withdrawing her hand covered in ants, and shaking her arm vigorously. She then selected a piece of wood approximately 20cm long and 2cm wide at one end, 1cm wide at the other, and proceeded to insert the stick into the hole, withdraw the stick, and then lick ants off of the stick. In contrast to the sizeable body of literature on tool use in wild chimpanzees, this is the first report of tool use for food acquisition by a wild gorilla. Am. J. Primatol. 77:353-357, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc., University of California at Davis and Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PLoS neglected tropical diseases | Year: 2015

Free-ranging nonhuman primates are frequent sources of zoonotic pathogens due to their physiologic similarity and in many tropical regions, close contact with humans. Many high-risk disease transmission interfaces have not been monitored for zoonotic pathogens due to difficulties inherent to invasive sampling of free-ranging wildlife. Non-invasive surveillance of nonhuman primates for pathogens with high potential for spillover into humans is therefore critical for understanding disease ecology of existing zoonotic pathogen burdens and identifying communities where zoonotic diseases are likely to emerge in the future. We developed a non-invasive oral sampling technique using ropes distributed to nonhuman primates to target viruses shed in the oral cavity, which through bite wounds and discarded food, could be transmitted to people. Optimization was performed by testing paired rope and oral swabs from laboratory colony rhesus macaques for rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV) and simian foamy virus (SFV) and implementing the technique with free-ranging terrestrial and arboreal nonhuman primate species in Uganda and Nepal. Both ubiquitous DNA and RNA viruses, RhCMV and SFV, were detected in oral samples collected from ropes distributed to laboratory colony macaques and SFV was detected in free-ranging macaques and olive baboons. Our study describes a technique that can be used for disease surveillance in free-ranging nonhuman primates and, potentially, other wildlife species when invasive sampling techniques may not be feasible.


PubMed | Rwanda Development Board, Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc., One Health Approach in Conservation, University of California at Davis and Makerere University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: American journal of primatology | Year: 2016

Infectious diseases pose one of the most significant threats to the survival of great apes in the wild. The critically endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is at high risk for contracting human pathogens because approximately 60% of the population is habituated to humans to support a thriving ecotourism program. Disease surveillance for human and non-human primate pathogens is important for population health and management of protected primate species. Here, we evaluate discarded plants from mountain gorillas and sympatric golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), as a novel biological sample to detect viruses that are shed orally. Discarded plant samples were tested for the presence of mammalian-specific genetic material and two ubiquitous DNA and RNA primate viruses, herpesviruses, and simian foamy virus. We collected discarded plant samples from 383 wild human-habituated mountain gorillas and from 18 habituated golden monkeys. Mammalian-specific genetic material was recovered from all plant species and portions of plant bitten or chewed by gorillas and golden monkeys. Gorilla herpesviral DNA was most consistently recovered from plants in which leafy portions were eaten by gorillas. Simian foamy virus nucleic acid was recovered from plants discarded by golden monkeys, indicating that it is also possible to detect RNA viruses from bitten or chewed plants. Our findings show that discarded plants are a useful non-invasive sampling method for detection of viruses that are shed orally in mountain gorillas, sympatric golden monkeys, and potentially other species. This method of collecting specimens from discarded plants is a new non-invasive sampling protocol that can be combined with collection of feces and urine to evaluate the most common routes of viral shedding in wild primates. Am. J. Primatol. 78:1222-1234, 2016. 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Kading R.C.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Borland E.M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Cranfield M.,Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc. | Powers A.M.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2013

Vector-borne and zoonotic pathogens have comprised a significant proportion of the emerging infectious diseases in humans in recent decades. The role of many wildlife species as reservoirs for arthropod-borne viral pathogens is poorly understood. We investigated the exposure history of various African wildlife species from the Congo basin to mosquito-borne flaviviruses and alphaviruses by testing archived serum samples. Sera from24 African forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus), 34 African elephants (Loxodonta africana), 40 duikers (Cephalophus and Philantomba spp.), 25 mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), 32 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), five Grauer's gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), two L'Hoest's monkeys (Cercopithecus lhoesti), two golden monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti), and three chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) sampled between 1991 and 2009 were tested for antibodies against chikungunya virus (CHIKV), o'nyong-nyong virus (ONNV), West Nile virus (WNV), dengue 2 virus (DENV-2), and yellow fever virus (YFV) by plaque reduction neutralization test. Specific neutralizing antibodies against ONNV were found in African forest buffalo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Gabon, duikers in the DRC, and mandrills in Gabon, providing novel evidence of enzootic circulation of ONNV in these countries. African forest buffalo in the DRC and Gabon also demonstrated evidence of exposure to CHIKV, WNV, and DENV-2, while mandrills in Gabon were antibody positive for CHIKV, DENV-2, WNV, and YFV. All of the elephants tested had a strong neutralizing antibody response to WNV. We also document results from a survey of gorillas for arboviruses, of which 4/32 (13%) had antibody to an alphavirus or flavivirus. Overall, our results demonstrate a high prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against multiple arboviruses in wildlife in equatorial Africa. © Wildlife Disease Association 2013.


Whittier C.A.,North Carolina State University | Cranfield M.R.,Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc. | Cranfield M.R.,Johns Hopkins University | Stoskopf M.K.,North Carolina State University
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2010

Health monitoring of wildlife populations can greatly benefit from rapid, local, noninvasive molecular assays for pathogen detection, Fecal samples collected from free-living Virunga mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringet) between August 2002 and February 2003 were tested for Campylobacter spp. DNA using a portable, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instrument. A high prevalence of Campylobacter spp. was detected in both individually identified (22/26=85%) and nest-collected samples (68/1.1.4=59.6%), with no statistically significant differences among different gorilla sexes or age classes or between tourist-visited versus research gorilla groups. The PCR instrument was able to discriminate two distinct groups of Campylobacter spp. in positive gorilla samples based on the PCR product fluorescent-probe melting profiles. The rare type (6/90 positives, 7%, including three mixed cases) matched DNA sequences of Campylobacter jejuni and was significantly associated with abnormally soft stools. The more common type of positive gorilla samples (87/90 positives, 97%) were normally formed and contained a Campylobacter sp. with DNA matching no published sequences. We speculate that the high prevalence of Campylobacter spp. detected in gorilla fecal samples in this survey mostly reflects previously uncharacterized and nonpathogenic intestinal flora. The real-time PCR assay was more sensitive than bacterial culture with Campylobacter-specinc media and commercially available, enzyme immunoassay tests for detecting Campylobacter spp. in human samples. © Wildlife Disease Association 2010.


Scuda N.,Robert Koch Institute | Madinda N.F.,Robert Koch Institute | Madinda N.F.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Akoua-Koffi C.,University Teaching Hospital Bouake | And 15 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2013

Polyomaviruses are a family of small non-enveloped DNA viruses that encode oncogenes and have been associated, to greater or lesser extent, with human disease and cancer. Currently, twelve polyomaviruses are known to circulate within the human population. To further examine the diversity of human polyomaviruses, we have utilized a combinatorial approach comprised of initial degenerate primer-based PCR identification and phylogenetic analysis of nonhuman primate (NHP) polyomavirus species, followed by polyomavirus-specific serological analysis of human sera. Using this approach we identified twenty novel NHP polyomaviruses: nine in great apes (six in chimpanzees, two in gorillas and one in orangutan), five in Old World monkeys and six in New World monkeys. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that only four of the nine chimpanzee polyomaviruses (six novel and three previously identified) had known close human counterparts. To determine whether the remaining chimpanzee polyomaviruses had potential human counterparts, the major viral capsid proteins (VP1) of four chimpanzee polyomaviruses were expressed in E. coli for use as antigens in enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). Human serum/plasma samples from both Côte d'Ivoire and Germany showed frequent seropositivity for the four viruses. Antibody pre-adsorption-based ELISA excluded the possibility that reactivities resulted from binding to known human polyomaviruses. Together, these results support the existence of additional polyomaviruses circulating within the human population that are genetically and serologically related to existing chimpanzee polyomaviruses. © 2013 Scuda et al.


Bisson I.-A.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | Ssebide B.J.,Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Inc. | Marra P.P.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
EcoHealth | Year: 2015

Diseases transmitted between animals and people have made up more than 50% of emerging infectious diseases in humans over the last 60 years and have continued to arise in recent months. Yet, public health and animal disease surveillance programs continue to operate independently. Here, we assessed whether recent emerging zoonotic pathogens (n = 143) are known to cause morbidity or mortality in their animal host and if so, whether they were first detected with an animal morbidity/mortality event. We show that although sick or dead animals are often associated with these pathogens (52%), only 9% were first detected from an animal morbidity or mortality event prior to or concurrent with signs of illness in humans. We propose that an animal morbidity and mortality reporting program will improve detection and should be an essential component of early warning systems for zoonotic diseases. With the use of widespread low-cost technology, such a program could engage both the public and professionals and be easily tested and further incorporated as part of surveillance efforts by public health officials. © 2014, International Association for Ecology and Health.

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