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Am J Primatol. 2012 Jun;74(6):491-6. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22018.

Social processes and disease in nonhuman primates: introduction to the special section.

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California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Most nonhuman primate species are remarkably social, but their social nature presents many challenges, including increased opportunities for pathogen transmission and development of disease (both physical and psychological). An interdisciplinary symposium was convened at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Primatologists on the topic of social processes and disease in nonhuman primates, and four articles from that session, as well as a fifth that was separately solicited, appear in this special section. The articles reflect a variety of disciplines and perspectives that highlight the many ways that social processes can impact disease processes (and vice versa) in this highly social taxon. This is an increasingly active area of research interest as a consequence of technological developments and the availability of long-term field data. The continuing loss of primate habitat in the wild, climate change, and the need to manage high densities of primates in captivity, however, all add urgency to our need to better understand the bidirectional relationship between social factors and disease processes.

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