Persistent anthrax as a major driver of wildlife mortality in a tropical rainforest

Constanze Hoffmann, Fee Zimmermann, Roman Biek, Hjalmar Kuehl, Kathrin Nowak, Roger Mundry, Anthony Agbor, Samuel Angedakin, Mimi Arandjelovic, Anja Blankenburg, Gregory Brazolla, Katherine Corogenes, Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann, Tobias Deschner, Paula Dieguez, Karsten Dierks, Ariane Düx, Susann Dupke, Henk Eshuis, Pierre FormentyYisa Ginath Yuh, Annemarie Goedmakers, Jan F. Gogarten, Anne Céline Granjon, Scott McGraw, Roland Grunow, John Hart, Sorrel Jones, Jessica Junker, John Kiang, Kevin Langergraber, Juan Lapuente, Kevin Lee, Siv Aina Leendertz, Floraine Léguillon, Vera Leinert, Therese Löhrich, Sergio Marrocoli, Kerstin Mätz-Rensing, Amelia Meier, Kevin Merkel, Sonja Metzger, Mizuki Murai, Svenja Niedorf, Hélène De Nys, Andreas Sachse, Joost Van Schijndel, Ulla Thiesen, Els Ton, Doris Wu, Lothar H. Wieler, Christophe Boesch, Silke R. Klee, Roman M. Wittig, Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer, Fabian H. Leendertz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anthrax is a globally important animal disease and zoonosis. Despite this, our current knowledge of anthrax ecology is largely limited to arid ecosystems, where outbreaks are most commonly reported. Here we show that the dynamics of an anthrax-causing agent, Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis, in a tropical rainforest have severe consequences for local wildlife communities. Using data and samples collected over three decades, we show that rainforest anthrax is a persistent and widespread cause of death for a broad range of mammalian hosts. We predict that this pathogen will accelerate the decline and possibly result in the extirpation of local chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) populations. We present the epidemiology of a cryptic pathogen and show that its presence has important implications for conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-85
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume548
Issue number7665
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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