Volume 74, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Cryptosporidiosis is a rapidly emerging disease in the tropics. This is the first report of and other protozoan infections ( spp., and spp.) in wild primates that inhabit the natural forest of Sri Lanka. It is unclear if non-human primates serve as a reservoir for these parasites under certain conditions. A cross-sectional coprologic survey among 125 monkeys (89 toque macaques, 21 gray langurs, and 15 purple-faced langurs) indicated that was detected in all three primate species and was most common among monkeys using areas and water that had been heavily soiled by human feces and livestock. Most macaques (96%) shedding oocysts were co-infected with other protozoans and important anthropozoonotic gastrointestinal parasites (e.g., and ). The transmission of these parasites among primates in the wild may have important implications for public health as well as wildlife conservation management.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. MacKenzie WR, Schell WL, Blair KA, Addiss DG, Peterson DE, Hoxie NJ, Kazmierczak JJ, Davis JP, 1995. Massive outbreak of waterborne Cryptosporidium infection in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: recurrence of illness and risk of secondary transmission. Clin Infect Dis 21 : 57–62.
  2. Smith HV, Rose JB, 1990. Water borne cryptosporidiosis. Parasitol Today 6 : 8–12.
  3. Current WL, Garcia LS, 1991. Cryptosporidiosis. Clin Microbiol Rev 4 : 325–358.
  4. Casemore DP, Wright WE, Coop RL, 1997. Cryptosporidiosis: human and animal epidemiology. Fayer, R, ed. Cryptosporidium and Cryptosporidiosis. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Inc., 65–92.
  5. Sulaiman IM, Xiao L, Yang C, Escalante L, Moore A, Beard CB, Arrowood MJ, Lal AA, 1998. Differentiating human from animal isolates of Cryptosporidium parvum. Emerg Infect Dis 4 : 681–685.
  6. Fayer R, Morgan U, Upton SJ, 2000. Epidemiology of Cryptosporidium: transmission, detection and identification. Int J Parsitol 30 : 1305–1322.
  7. Bahirathan M, Weilgama DJ, Wijesundera MK, De S, 1987. Identification of three species of Eimeria and oocyst of Cryptosporidium from calves of Sri Lanka. Ceylon Vet J 35 : 13–18.
  8. Dissanaiake AS, 1993. Parasitic zoonoses in Sri Lanka, Occasional review. Ceylon Med J 38 : 150–187.
  9. Noordeen F, Rajapakse RPVJ, Faizal ACM, Horadagoda NU, Arulkanthan A, 2000. Prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection in goats in selected locations in three agro climatic zones of Sri Lanka. Vet Parasitol 93 : 95–101.
  10. Perera J, 1988. Cryptosporidium associated with childhood diarrhea in Sri Lanka—a preliminary study. Ceylon Med J 35 : 11–14.
  11. Dittus WPJ, 2004. Demography: a window to social evolution. Thierry B, Singh M, Kaumanns W, eds. Macaque Societies: Model for the Study of Social Organization. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge Univ Press, 87–116.
  12. de Graff DC, Vanopdenbosch E, Ortega-Mora LM, Abbassi H, Peeters JE, 1999. A review of the importance of cryptosporidiosis in farm animals. Int J Parasitol 29 : 1269–1287.
  13. Muriuki SM, Farah IO, Kagwiria RM, Chai DC, Njamunge G, Suleman M, Olobo JO, 1997. The presence of Cryptosporidium oocysts in stools of clinically diarrheic and normal non-human primates in Kenya. Vet Parasitol 72 : 141–147.
  14. Nizeyi JB, Mwebe R, Nanteza A, Cranfield MR, Kalema GR, Graczyk TK, 1999. Cryptosporidium sp.and Giardia sp. infections in mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) of the Bwindi impenetrable national park, Uganda. J Parasitol 85 : 1084–1088.
  15. Nizeyi JB, Sebunya D, Dasilva AJ, Cranfield MR, Pieniazek NJ, Graczyk TK, 2002. Cryptosporidiosis in people sharing habitats with free-ranging mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei), Uganda. Am J Trop Med Hyg 66 : 442–444.
  16. Ghandour AM, Zahid NZ, Banaja AA, Kamal KB, Boug AI, 1995. Zoonotic intestinal parasites of hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadrayas) in the western and northern regions of Saudi Arabia. J Trop Med Hyg 98 : 431–439.
  17. Graczyk TK, Cranfield MR, 2001. Coprophagy and intestinal parasites: Implication to human habituated mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei). Rec Res Dev Microbiol 5 : 283–293.
  18. Michaud C, Tantalean M, Ique C, Montoya E, Gozalo A, 2003. A survey for helminth parasites in feral new world non-human primate population and its comparison with parasitological data from man in the region. J Med Primatol 32 : 341–345.
  19. de Silva ARM, Dittus WPJ, Amarasinghe PH, Amarasinghe FP, 1999. Serologic evidence for an epizootic Dengue virus infecting toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Am J Trop Med Hyg 60 : 300–306.
  20. Dittus WPJ, 1998. Birth sex ratios in toque macaques and other mammals: integrating the effects of maternal condition and competition. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 44 : 149–160.
  21. National Research Council, 1981. Techniques for the Study of Primate Population Ecology. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  22. Hoelzer GA, Dittus WPJ, Ashley MV, Melnick DJ, 1994. The local distribution of highly divergent mitochondrial DNA hapolotypes in Toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Mol Ecol 3 : 451–458.
  23. Casemore DP, Armstrong M, Sands RL, 1985. Laboratory diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis. J Clin Pathol 38 : 1337–1341.
  24. Lawrence RA, Orihel TC, 1997. Atlas of Human Parasitology. Chicago: American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
  25. Jellison KL, Hemond HF, Schauer DB, 2002. Sources and species of Cryptosporidium oocysts in the Wachusett reservoir watershed. Appl Environ Microbiol 68 : 569–575.
  26. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ, 1995. Biometry. New York: Freeman WH and Company.
  27. Wolfe ND, Escalante AA, Karesh WB, Kilbourn A, Spielman A, Lal AA, 1998. Wild primate populations in emerging infectious disease research: The missing link? Emerg Infect Dis 4 : 149–158.
  28. Munene E, Otsyula M, Mbaabu DA, Mutahi WT, Muriuki SM, Muchemi GM, 1998. Helminth and protozoan gastrointestinal tract parasites in captive and wild-trapped African non-human primates. Vet Parasitol 78 : 195–201.
  29. O’Donoghue PJ, 1995. Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis in man and animals. Int J Parasitol 25 : 139–195.
  30. Karere GM, Munene E, 2002. Some gastro-intestinal tract parasites in wild De Brazza’s monkeys (Cercopithecus neglectus) in Kenya. Vet Parasitol 110 : 153–157.
  31. Muriuki SM, Murugu RK, Munene E, Karere GM, Chai DC, 1998. Some gastro-intestinal parasites of zoonotic (public health) importance commonly observed in old world non-human primates in Kenya. Acta Trop 71 : 73–82.
  32. Dewit I, Dittus WPJ, Vercruyse J, Harris EA, Gibson DI, 1991. Gastro intestinal helminths in a natural population of Macaca sinica and Presbytis spp at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Primates 32 : 391–395.
  33. Edirisinghe JS, Cumararajan SM, 1976. The first record of Bertiella studeri infection in a child from Sri Lanka. Ceylon Med J 21 : 137–140.
  34. Gallella SD, Gunawardena GS, Karunaweera ND, 2004. Bertiella studeri infection: resistance to niclosamide. Ceylon Med J 49 : 65.
  35. Collet JY, Galdikas BM, Sugarjito J, Jojosudharmo S, 1986. A coprological study of parasitism in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) in Indonesia. J Med Primatol 15 : 121–129.
  36. Inglis WG, 1961. The Oxford parasites (nematodes) of primates. Proc Zool Soc Lond 136 : 103–122.
  37. Yamashita J, 1963. Geological relationships between parasites and primates. Primates 4 : 1–96.
  38. Peiris JSM, Dittus WPJ, Ratnayake CB, 1993. Seroepidemiology of dengue and other arboviruses in a natural population of toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. J Med Primatol 22 : 240–245.

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 12 Jun 2005
  • Accepted : 28 Sep 2005

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error