One hundred fifty baboons from Kenya, British East Africa, had a high prevalence of infection with Schistosoma mansoni, indicating that the baboon may be an important reservoir host for this parasite.
The distribution of S. mansoni eggs in the tissues of the baboons is similar to that found in mild human infections and the pathogenesis of lesions in the colon and liver is also similar. Hepatic cirrhosis, however, was not observed in the baboon.
These studies, which point out many similarities between human and baboon infections, confirm Newsome's suggestion that the baboon is an excellent experimental animal for research in schistosomiasis. The baboon is superior in many ways to the common laboratory animals and also to other primates.
Measures to control human schistosomiasis should take into account the possibility that the baboon is an important reservoir host. Other primates should be examined in areas where human schistosomiasis exists to determine their role in host-parasite relationships.
Senior Research Fellow (SF 150), U.S. Public Health Service.