Writing in the journal PLoS One, lead author Sadie Ryan says it can take several years for ape populations to recover from a flu-like outbreak set off by human contact.
Recovery could take more than a century from the Ebola virus that wipes out 96 percent of the population.
“These disease mortality rates are particularly troubling, given the rising pathogen risk due to increasing human contact with wild apes," says Ryan.
She warns that the primates are the last vestiges of humankind’s closest relatives.
Ryan and colleagues recommend that safe and efficient methods for delivering treatments and vaccines orally should be conducted.
Photo: Virunga National Park