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Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Urban Landscapes: Gastrointestinal Parasitism and Barriers for Healthy Coexistence in Northeast Thailand

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  • 1 Center for One Health Research, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington;
  • | 2 Departments of Psychology and Global Health, Center for Global Field Study, and Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington;
  • | 3 Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University, Kham Riang, Thailand;
  • | 4 Genetics and Environmental Toxicology Research Group, Khon Kaen University, Sila, Thailand;
  • | 5 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Khon Kaen University, Sila, Thailand;
  • | 6 Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington and Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington;
  • | 7 Kosumphisai Hospital, Kosum Phisai, Thailand

Gastrointestinal parasites have diverse life cycles that can involve people, animals, and the environment (e.g., water and soil), demonstrating the utility of One Health frameworks in characterizing infection risk. Kosumpee Forest Park (Thailand) is home to a dense population of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) that frequently interact with tourists and local residents. Our study investigated the presence of zoonotic parasites, and barriers to healthy coexistence by conducting stool analysis on macaques (N = 102) and people (N = 115), and by examining risk factors for infection with a household questionnaire (N = 95). Overall, 44% of macaques and 12% of people were infected with one or more gastrointestinal helminths, including Strongyloides spp., Ascaris spp., and Trichuris sp. An adults-only generalized linear mixed model identified three factors significantly associated with human infection: household size, occupational exposure, and contact with macaque feces at home. Participants identified both advantages and disadvantages to living in close contact with macaques, suggesting that interventions to improve human and animal health in Kosumpee Forest Park would be welcome.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Vickie Ramirez, Center for One Health Research, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St., Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98195-7234. E-mail: ramirezv@uw.edu

Authors’ addresses: Janna M. Schurer, Vickie Ramirez, Erica T. Grant, Gemina Garland-Lewis, and Peter Rabinowitz, School of Public Health, Center for One Health Research, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, E-mails: jschurer@gmail.com, ramirezv@uw.edu, egrant5@uw.edu, gemina@uw.edu, and peterr7@uw.edu. Pensri Kyes and Randall C. Kyes, Department of Comparative Medicine, Center for Global Field Study and Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, E-mails: pkyes@uw.edu and rkyes@uw.edu. Tawatchai Tanee, Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham, Thailand, and Genetics and Environmental Toxicology Research Group, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand, E-mail: tawatchai5@hotmail.com. Natcha Patarapadungkit, Department of Pathology, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand, and Genetics and Environmental Toxicology Research Group, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand, E-mail: nuapat@kku.ac.th. Penkhae Thamsenanupap, Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham, Thailand, E-mail: penkhae.t@msu.ac.th. Sally Trufan, School of Public Health, Center for One Health Research, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, Charlotte, NC, E-mail: sj247@uw.edu. Stephen Kelley, Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, E-mail: stk506@gmail.com. Hutsacha Nueaitong, Kosumphisai Hospital, Kosum Phisai, Thailand, E-mail: hutsacha@gmail.com.

These authors contributed equally to this work.

These authors were co-principal investigators.

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