Journal cover Journal topic
Primate Biology An international open-access journal on primate research
Primate Biol., 4, 47-59, 2017
http://www.primate-biol.net/4/47/2017/
doi:10.5194/pb-4-47-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review article
14 Mar 2017
Wild African great apes as natural hosts of malaria parasites: current knowledge and research perspectives
Hélène Marie De Nys1,a, Therese Löhrich1, Doris Wu1, Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer1, and Fabian Hubertus Leendertz1 1Project group Epidemiology of Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany
acurrent address: UMI 233, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), INSERM U1175, and University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France
Abstract. Humans and African great apes (AGAs) are naturally infected with several species of closely related malaria parasites. The need to understand the origins of human malaria as well as the risk of zoonotic transmissions and emergence of new malaria strains in human populations has markedly encouraged research on great ape Plasmodium parasites. Progress in the use of non-invasive methods has rendered investigations into wild ape populations possible. Present knowledge is mainly focused on parasite diversity and phylogeny, with still large gaps to fill on malaria parasite ecology. Understanding what malaria infection means in terms of great ape health is also an important, but challenging avenue of research and has been subject to relatively few research efforts so far. This paper reviews current knowledge on African great ape malaria and identifies gaps and future research perspectives.

Citation: De Nys, H. M., Löhrich, T., Wu, D., Calvignac-Spencer, S., and Leendertz, F. H.: Wild African great apes as natural hosts of malaria parasites: current knowledge and research perspectives, Primate Biol., 4, 47-59, doi:10.5194/pb-4-47-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Humans and African great apes (AGAs) are naturally infected with several species of closely related malaria parasites. Research on AGA malaria has been driven by the need to understand the origins of human malaria and the risk of transmission of malaria parasites infecting AGAs to humans. The understanding of the ecology of AGA malaria parasites and their impact on AGA health remains relatively poor. We review current knowledge on AGA malaria and identify gaps and future research perspectives.
Humans and African great apes (AGAs) are naturally infected with several species of closely...
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