by Fee Zimmermann, Susanne M. Köhler, Kathrin Nowak, Susann Dupke, Anne Barduhn, Ariane Düx, Alexander Lang, Hélène M. De Nys, Jan F. Gogarten, Roland Grunow, Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann, Roman M. Wittig, Silke R. Klee, Fabian H. Leendertz
Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis (Bcbva) is a member of the B. cereus group which carries both B. anthracis virulence plasmids, causes anthrax-like disease in various wildlife species and was described in several sub-Saharan African rainforests. Long-term monitoring of carcasses in Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire, revealed continuous wildlife mortality due to Bcbva in a broad range of mammalian species. While non-lethal anthrax infections in wildlife have been described for B. anthracis, nothing is known about the odds of survival following an anthrax infection caused by Bcbva. To address this gap, we present the results of a serological study of anthrax in five wildlife species known to succumb to Bcbva in this ecosystem. Specific antibodies were only detected in two out of 15 wild red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius) and one out of 10 black-and-white colobus monkeys (Colobus polykomos), but in none of 16 sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys), 9 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) and 9 Maxwell’s duikers (Cephalophus maxwellii). The combination of high mortality and low antibody detection rates indicates high virulence of this disease across these different mammalian species.
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