Cryptosporidium sp. and Giardia sp. infections in mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) of the bwindi impenetrable National Park, Uganda

John Bosco Nizeyi, Robert Mwebe, Ann Nanteza, Michael R. Cranfield, Gladys R.N.N. Kalema, Thaddeus K. Graczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

For conservation purposes and because of growing ecotourism, some mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei) populations have been habituated to humans. Fecal specimens (n = 100) of nonhabituated and human-habituated gorillas (5 populations; 6 age classes) were tested for Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts and Giardia sp. cysts by conventional staining and immunofluorescent antibody (IFA). Cryptosporidium sp. infections (prevalence 11%) were not restricted to very young gorillas but were observed in 3-yr-old to >12-yr-old gorillas; most of the infections (73%) occurred in human-habituated gorillas. The prevalence of Giardia sp. infections was 2%; 1 nonhabituated gorilla was concomitantly infected. Oocysts of Cryptosporidium sp. in the gorilla stools were morphologically, morphometrically, and immunologically undistinguishable from a bovine isolate of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. Mean concentration of Cryptosporidium sp. oocysts and Giardia sp. cysts in gorilla stools was 9.39 X 104/g, and 2.49 X 104/g, respectively. There was no apparent relationship between oocyst concentration and gorilla age, sex, or habituation status. Most Cryptosporidium sp. infections found in gorillas with closest proximity to people may be a result of the habituation process and ecotourism. This study constitutes the first report of Cryptosporidium sp. infections in the family Pongidae, in the free-ranging great apes, and in the species of gorilla.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1088
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Volume85
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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