Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter

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Science Advances  18 Jan 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 1, e1600946
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600946

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  • Yellow fever threatens Atlantic Forest primates
    • Júlio César Bicca-Marques, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS 90619- 900, Brazil.
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    Emerging infectious diseases were cited as a cause of population decline of wild nonhuman primates (NHPs) by A. Estrada and collaborators in their review “Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates” (Science Advances, 18 January, e1600946). Concurrent with the publication of this review, an epidemic of jungle yellow fever (YF) in the Atlantic Forest region of southeastern Brazil is affecting humans and NHPs alike, challenging health and wildlife conservation authorities and professionals. From December 2016 to 18 May 2017, YF has killed 264 people (42 additional deaths are under investigation) and caused, at least, 5,000 NHP deaths (1). Our field estimates sum many thousands of NHP deaths. Humans have access to an effective vaccine and about 85% of infected unvaccinated people are asymptomatic or develop a mild form of YF (2). Despite this resistance, there are 758 confirmed human cases and a further 622 cases under investigation, about 63% of them in regions of recommended vaccination prior to the current epidemic.

    A disease of African origin, YF has spread to a portion of the Atlantic Forest that is outside the region of regular recommended vaccination (1) and encompasses most of the distribution of several NHPs, including the Vulnerable northern masked titi monkey (Callicebus personatus) and the Critically Endangered northern muriqui (Brachyteles hypoxanthus) and northern brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba guariba) (3). Belonging to a genus highly sen...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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