Lose a habitat, gain a disease: South

Hepatitis A (HAV), cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus antibodies were commonly detected, prompting a warning over the potential for “cross-species trafficking” of disease.

“The loss of preferred habitat, coupled with expanding numbers and a preference for high-caloric food items, results in baboons entering residential areas daily to raid dustbins… enter homes and attack humans,” the researchers said.

“The close contact between baboons and humans results in a high potential for the transmission of infectious diseases.”

There were potentially fatal consequences of human infection with HAV, particularly for immunocompromised persons such as those co-infected with HIV, the researchers said.

In addition, transmission across species increased the likelihood of changes in pathogenicity and host specificity.

Emerg Infect Dis 2012; 18:298-301