One Health Perspectives on New Emerging Viral Diseases in African Wild Great Apes

Pathogens. 2021 Oct 6;10(10):1283. doi: 10.3390/pathogens10101283.


The most recent emerging infectious diseases originated in animals, mainly in wildlife reservoirs. Mutations and recombination events mediate pathogen jumps between host species. The close phylogenetic relationship between humans and non-human primates allows the transmission of pathogens between these species. These pathogens cause severe impacts on public health and impair the conservation of habituated or non-habituated wild-living apes. Constant exposure of great apes to human actions such as hunting, deforestation, the opening of roads, and tourism, for example, contributes to increased interaction between humans and great apes. In spite of several studies emphasizing the risks of pathogen transmission between animals and humans, outbreaks of the reverse transmission of infectious agents threatening wildlife still occur on the African continent. In this context, measures to prevent the emergence of new diseases and conservation of primate species must be based on the One Health concept; that is, they must also ensure the monitoring of the environment and involve political and social aspects. In this article, we review and discuss the anthropological aspects of the transmission of diseases between people and wild primates and discuss new anthropozoonotic diseases in great apes in Africa from studies published between 2016 and 2020. We conclude that the health of great apes also depends on monitoring the health of human populations that interact with these individuals.

Keywords: disease; infection; primate; respiratory; simian; zooanthroponosis; zoonosis.

Publication types

  • Review