An article entitled “Evaluation of Non-Invasive Biological Samples to Monitor Staphylococcus aureus Colonization in Great Apes and Lemurs.” by Schaumburg et al. just got published this week in the journal PlOs One.
In this study, the researchers evaluated the presence of the potentially zoonotic bacteria Staphylococcus aureus in various primates including wild lemurs from Kirindy, Madagascar and captive and free ranging chimpanzee from Uganda.
The researchers collected mucosal swabs from red fronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons) and Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi), fecal samples, swabs and fruit wadges from captive and wild chimpanzees from Uganda. Samples were cultured and genetically analyzed to detect the bacteria and identify the strains. Additionally, the researchers tested the resistance of the detected strains to commonly used antimicrobial agents.
They found that 72% (18/25) of the oropharyngeal samples from lemurs were positive to Staphylococcus aureus. And although the majority of bacteria types found in red fronted lemurs were not detected in sifaka, some lemurs harboured bacteria from the lineage ST188 commonly detected in humans and may suggest an anthroponotic transmission of this bacteria from humans to lemurs. Additionally, two of the genotypes detected in lemurs seemed to be resistant to Penicillin.
This is of a great concern since some strains of Staphylococcus aureus can cause significant morbidity and even mortality in primates and may be of concern to human health as well.
This article shows among other significant results that wild lemurs from Madagascar carry various genotypes of Staphylococcus aureus. Some of these pathogens may have originated in humans and constitute a case of “pathogen pollution” or the introduction of pathogen into a previously naive population of wild animals.
Please follow this link to read the article in full (open access).
Schaumburg F, Mugisha L, Kappeller P, Fichtel C, Köck R, et al. (2013) Evaluation of Non-Invasive Biological Samples to Monitor Staphylococcus aureusColonization in Great Apes and Lemurs. PLoS ONE 8(10): e78046. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078046