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 highrisk 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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases