Wednesday, 27 June 2012

From the Mouths of Monkeys: Swab Technique Spots Tuberculosis in Non-Human Primates

ScienceDaily (June 21, 2012) — Tuberculosis can be a serious threat to monkeys and apes. A new technique for detecting the tuberculosis -causing bacteria could help in protecting the health of primate populations. The method can spot TB even among infected primates that show no outward sign of disease, but are still capable of spreading infection to others of their kind.

Existing tests for TB in primates are difficult to apply and give unreliable results, often failing to detect infections.
With the new approach, researchers obtained the first published evidence of TB pathogens in the mouths of Asian monkeys living near people. The study appears in the latest issue of the American Journal of Primatology. Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, a senior research scientist at the National Primate Research Center at the University of Washington, headed the international project.
Her team worked in six Asian countries and the Rock of Gibraltar, places where people come into frequent contact with macaques. The monkeys are kept as pets, or live in temples, range freely throughout urban neighborhoods, reside in nature parks or zoos, or perform as entertainers.

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