Malaria Infection Harms Wild African Apes; Immune Gene Variants Protective

Endangered great apes get malaria, just as humans. New evidence from wild bonobos shows us the infection harms them, also. Malaria is a devastating disease caused by parasites transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitos. For humans, symptoms start out mild — fever, headache, and chills — but malaria infection can be fatal within 24 hours. For apes, little is known about what malaria sickness looks like, or how deadly it is. “We don’t yet have a good handle on the symptoms and mortality risk,” said Emily Wroblewski, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. “The number of infected animals in captivity that have exhibited disease symptoms has been limited. Sometimes they show symptoms like fever and other things that might be associated with infection, and sometimes not. And in the wild these things are very difficult to track.”

Login Or Register To Read Full Story