Ecology of malaria infections in western lowland gorillas inhabiting Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas, Central African Republic

Mwanahamisi I. Mapua, Moneeb A. Qablan, Kateřina Pomajbíková, Klára J. Petrželková, Zuzana Hůzová, Jana Rádrová, Jan Votýpka, Angelique Todd, Milan Jirku, Fabian H. Leendertz, Julius Lukeš, Cecile Neel, David Modrý

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


African great apes are susceptible to infections with several species of Plasmodium, including the predecessor of Plasmodium falciparum. Little is known about the ecology of these pathogens in gorillas. A total of 131 gorilla fecal samples were collected from Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas to study the diversity and prevalence of Plasmodium species. The effects of sex and age as factors influencing levels of infection with Plasmodium in habituated gorilla groups were assessed. Ninety-five human blood samples from the same locality were also analysed to test for cross-transmission between humans and gorillas. According to a cytB PCR assay 32% of gorilla's fecal samples and 43·1% human individuals were infected with Plasmodium spp. All Laverania species, Plasmodium vivax, and for the first time Plasmodium ovale were identified from gorilla samples. Plasmodium praefalciparum was present only from habituated individuals and P. falciparum was detected from human samples. Although few P. vivax and P. ovale sequences were obtained from gorillas, the evidence for cross-species transmission between humans and gorillas requires more in depth analysis. No association was found between malaria infection and sex, however, younger individuals aged ≤6 years were more susceptible. Switching between two different Plasmodium spp. was observed in three individuals. Prolonged monitoring of Plasmodium infection during various seasons and recording behavioural data is necessary to draw a precise picture about the infection dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-900
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 11 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • African great apes
  • Plasmodium spp
  • lowland gorilla
  • malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases


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