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J Med Primatol. 2001 Feb;30(1):20-5.

A prevalence survey for zoonotic enteric bacteria in a research monkey colony with specific emphasis on the occurrence of enteric Yersinia.

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  • 1Department of Comparative Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA. vores@mail.ecu.edu


Transmissible pathogenic and opportunistic zoonotic enteric bacteria comprise a recognized occupational health threat to exposed humans from non-human primates (NHPs). In an effort to evaluate the occurrence of selected enteric organisms with zoonotic and biohazard potential in a research colony setting, we performed a prevalence study examining 61 juvenile and young adult rhesus macaques participating in a transplant immunology project. Primary emphasis was directed specifically to detection of pathogenic enteric Yersinia, less well-documented and reported NHP pathogens possessing recognized significant human disease potential. NHPs were surveyed by rectal culture during routine health monitoring on three separate occasions, and samples incubated using appropriate media and specific selective culture methods. Enteric organisms potentially transmissible to humans were subcultured and identified to genus and species. Significant human pathogens of the Salmonella/Shigella, Campylobacter, and enteric Yersinia groups were not isolated throughout the survey, suggesting prevalence of these organisms may generally be quite low.

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