Close Window
Apes May Need Vaccinations to Escape Extinction February 10, 2012
Orphan gorilla at Congo's Virunga National Park
Caregiver at Congo's Virunga National Park wearing a facemask to limit danger of orphan ape being exposed to human diseases.
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara caution that it may be necessary to vaccinate apes in the wild to prevent them from falling victim to diseases that threaten their very existence.

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