Leprosy confirmed in wild chimpanzees
Cases have been found in Guinea-Bissau and the Ivory Coast
Leprosy has been found in wild chimpanzees for the first time, according to a new study.
Cases have been confirmed among two unconnected West African populations of chimpanzees, in Guinea-Bissau and the Ivory Coast.
Researchers found the strains of leprosy are different and are uncommon in humans.
While the origins of the infections are unclear, scientists suggest the disease is probably circulating in more wild animals than was previously suspected.
This could either be as a result of exposure to humans or other unknown environmental sources, they add.
Humans are considered the main host for the bacteria which cause leprosy, but spill-over to other mammals such as nine-banded armadillos and red squirrels is known to occur.
Leprosy is an infectious disease of the skin and nerves which, if left untreated, can lead to deformities and blindness.Published: by Radio NewsHub