Print 31 comment(s) - last by KOOLTIME.. on Mar 31 at 8:13 PM

A virus called human metapneumovirus (HMPV) infected several gorillas and even killed two in 2009

Researchers from the United States and Africa have discovered that diseases can pass from humans to gorillas, and can even cause death to these wild mountain gorillas.

Gustavo Palacios, study leader and virologist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University in New York, along with Mike Cranfield, executive director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and a UC Davis wildlife veterinarian, Linda Lowenstein, a veterinary pathologist with the UC Davis Mountain Gorilla One Health Program, and a team of researchers from the Rwanda Development Board have found that wild mountain gorillas are capable of catching infectious diseases from humans

The fact that gorillas have had close contact to humans -- such as gorillas living near densely populated areas in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda -- does not help these endangered species. Also, tourists who visit these gorillas in their shelters expose them to even more potential diseases.

Now, this study has found that gorilla's living in the national parks in Africa are being infected by a respiratory disease that is common in humans (gorillas and humans share 98 percent of the same DNA). The outbreaks of these human-caused diseases have become much more frequent in these specific gorilla populations in recent years. This is problematic because the respiratory issues have proved to be fatal to some of the gorillas. In fact, two gorillas died in 2009 due to human viruses. 

"The type of infection we see most frequently is respiratory, which can range from mild colds to severe pneumonia," said Lowenstine.

The two gorillas that died from the human virus were apart of the Hirwa group, which resides in Rwanda. In 2009, this group had 12 gorillas ranging from males to females to juveniles to infants. Eleven were infected by the respiratory disease, which resulted in symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, coughing and lethargy. Two of the infected gorillas died. 

When the tissues of the two gorillas were examined, both had the biochemical signature of an RNA virus called human metapneumovirus (HMPV). An adult female and an infant were the ones killed by the virus.

"Because there are fewer than 800 living mountain gorillas, each individual is critically important to the survival of their species," said Cranfield. "But mountain gorillas are surrounded by people, and this discovery makes it clear that living in protected national parks is not a barrier to human diseases."

This study was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Holier Than Thou?
By conquistadorst on 3/30/2011 10:19:20 AM , Rating: 0
Amazing how some of you can be so ignorant and pompous. You guys have no clue why these 3rd countries remain impoverished and assume it's simply laziness on their part. All the while, mind you, happily reaping the benefits of living in developed and modern society that's already been handed to you no a silver platter.

It's funny how easily everyone, secular or not, pushes the ol' holier than thou attitude. But it's frightening how easily (and eagerly) we freedom-embracing-enlightened peoples of the almighty developed world want to strip basic freedoms and human rights of those inferior to us. Oh yes, we're only trying to help them... if you want to help them then first help them setup a secure government, economy, and society that even begins to allow them to build their own wealth in a stable fashion without it being stripped away from them the very next day. Education and the ability to prosper economically is the best and most effective contraceptive - but that would take too much effort, time, and money on our part so let's instead rain down buckets of condoms on their villages. Better yet, let's send some peace keepers over there to make sure they use them and put them on too. Or no, let's feed them poison that destroys their reproductive organs that might be even more effective!

I'm so glad to see we've replaced religion with a new modern sense of renewed humanism. We've come a long way we humans, yes sir! It's sad those last few hundred gorillas won't last. But then again, maybe in the end we won't either.

RE: Holier Than Thou?
By Ammohunt on 3/31/2011 2:49:27 PM , Rating: 3
Some "peoples" are not capable of setting up a modern civil society its just a cold hard truth. Tribal people lean towards Tribal societies(Afghanistan, most of Africa, Arabia, etc..) thats not to say these people can't function in an already established society but to create their own from scratch is not possible. Whats trully wrong is the imposing something incompatible on these people.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
Related Articles

Most Popular ArticlesSmartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
UN Meeting to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
September 21, 2016, 9:52 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Update: Problem-Free Galaxy Note7s CPSC Approved
September 22, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki