Nasopharyngeal colonization by potentially pathogenic bacteria found in healthy semi-captive wild-born chimpanzees in Uganda



Information on the chimpanzee nasopharygeal colonization in captive sanctuaries and in the wild is rare. This study was undertaken to establish the nasopharygeal colonization and potential bacterial pathogens in sanctuary chimpanzees as a basis for improving chimpanzee and employee health. Nasopharygeal colonization of 39 healthy chimpanzees were analyzed by microbiological cultivation method and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. We report four major phyla dominated by Proteobacteria (50%), Fermicutes (35.7%), Bacteriodes (7.1%), and Cynobacteria (7.1%) in healthy semi-captive chimpanzees. Further classification based on 7-base oligomers revealed the following genera: Streptococcus, Veillonella, Neisseria, Prevotella, Kingella and unclassified Cynobacteria, Actinobacillus, Bacteriodes and Pasteurellaceae. On microbiological cultivation we were able to identify and characterize some of the bacteria to species level as Klebsiella pneumonie and Pseudomonas aeruginosa being dominant bacteria with 54.7% and 50% colonization, respectively. Of these, Streptococcus, Neisseria, Klebsiella, and Haemophillus have representatives known to potentially cause severe respiratory disease. Our data present important information on chimpanzee nasopharygeal colonization as a guide to understanding disease processes and pharmaceutical therapies required for improving the health of chimpanzees. The results from this study will guide the processes to improve procedures for routine management of sanctuary chimpanzees and use it as a basis for evaluation of future reintroduction possibilities. Am. J. Primatol. 76:103–110, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.