Travel Animal Doctor: Tuberculosis Transmission to Monkeys

Travel Animal Doctor: Tuberculosis Transmission to Monkeys

Tuberculosis transmission to monkeys is also extremely fatal. – Travel Animal Doctor

It is World Tuberculosis Day. Tuberculosis is an ongoing epidemic has killed 1.5 million people a year. 

Disease in Humans

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that spreads from person to person by air and most often affects the lungs.

  • The disease is curable but entails intensive antibiotic therapy for 6 months. Vaccines are available for prevention.
  • Tuberculosis causes cough, weight loss, fever and night sweats, and predisposed individuals are generally immunocompromised due to conditions such as diabetes, HIV or malnutrition.
  • Since mild forms of the disease do exist, people may not realize the disease is present.

If an individual does not realize the presence of tuberculosis this person can spread the disease to others without difficulty.

Disease in Monkeys

Did you know that Tuberculosis in humans can also affect monkeys and vice versa?

  • Zoonoses are the spread of diseases from animal to humans.
  • Tuberculosis can be spread from people to monkeys, and the saliva and nasal secretions of an infected monkey can cause tuberculosis in humans.
  • Tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease between humans and monkeys.

Tuberculosis transmission to monkeys can seriously devastate the monkey population, thus those TB tests are extremely important.

It is vital to remember that safety protocols in place are there for a reason.

Travel Animal Doctor
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Working with Monkeys

  • I spent three months in Ecuador volunteering at a zoo where I had the opportunity to rehabilitate various species of monkeys.
  • I also worked at multiple facilities with great apes.
  • In between each institution I was required to take a TB test.
  • The significance of this test was to avoid transfer of tuberculosis to the animals at each institution.

Who’s Most Susceptible

  • Old World monkeys are particularly susceptible to the human and bovine strain of tuberculosis because they have no natural resistance.
  • When tuberculosis affects monkeys it usually spreads more rapidly than in humans, and can quickly disseminate to other organs besides the lungs.

Tuberculosis transmission to monkeys is important to know about because it is a fatal disease that is extremely severe to an affected monkey population. -Travel Animal Doctor

Importance of the TB Test

Using the TB test on monkeys and humans is crucial to avoid the spread of tuberculosis infection.

  • If you travel or volunteer in an area where there are monkeys or if you own a monkey it is important to be aware of tuberculosis transmission to monkeys.
  • Before working with great apes or monkeys it is usually required to take a TB test.

For the protection of yourself, your close relationships, and those adorable furry distant relatives, remember the importance of that TB test. – Travel Animal Doctor

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  1. That’s really interesting, thank you for sharing as I had no idea TB could be passed from humans to animals! I volunteered in Ecuador a few years back in an animal sanctuary with monkeys but no-one mentioned this…sounds like more people need to be aware!

    • Very neat, where in Ecuador were you? I am happy you found it informative.


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