Potential pathogen transmission risk in non-human primate ecotourism: A case study at Mt. Huangshan, China
Zhu Yong 1, Li Jin-Hua 1, 2, Xia Dong-Po 1, Sun Bing-Hua 1, Xu Yu-Rui 1, Wang Xi 1, Zhang Dao 1
1. School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Anhui University, Hefei 230601, China
2. School of Life Science, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241000, China
Abstract: Ecotourism involving feeding wildlife poses potential threats to public health and has raised public attention, especially concerning non-human primates. This study aimed to assess disease’s emergence in macaques and patterns of human-macaque contacts at Tibetan macaque ecotourism site at Mt. Huangshan, China. Using all-occurrence sampling, we collected aggressive behavior initiated by macaques. A total of 282 tourists were surveyed. During the study period, 16 macaque blood samples were collected and analyzed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the seroprevalence of immunoglobulin antibodies to Herpes B Virus, Hepatitis A virus, Simian foamy virus, Simian pox virus, Simian retrovirus and Simian T-cell lymphotrophic virus-1. The results indicate that Tibetan macaques tested positive for 6 types of virus antibodies. Most aggressive behaviors initiated by macaques did not result in physical contact with humans. The main type of aggressive behavior with physical contact was scratching (92%). Among the participants that have physical contact with monkeys, 13.79% were scratched and 6.9% were bitted by monkeys. Of the injured, 89.36% were treated by doctors at a medical clinic. This study provides evidence that the people who come into contact with macaques at ecotourism site are at risk for exposure to the virus when interacting with macaques. Our study may aid in the management of human-macaque interaction to minimize potential disease emergence risk.
[Zhu Y, Li JH, Xia DP, Sun BH, Xu YR, Wang X, Zhang D. Potential pathogen transmission risk in non-human primate ecotourism: A case study at Mt. Huangshan, China. Life Sci J 2013;10(1):2754-2759] (ISSN:1097-8135). http://www.lifesciencesite.com.
Keywords: Tibetan macaques; ecotourism; human-macaque interaction; pathogen transmission