November 25, 2008
Bacteria move between species, study finds
Mountain gorillas in Uganda are at increased risk of getting gastrointestinal bacteria from humans, researchers found.
The study, published in Conservation Biology, examined the exchange of digestive-track bacteria between humans, mountain gorillas and domesticated animals living in overlapping habitats.
Mountain gorillas were at a higher risk of a bacteria exchange whether antibiotic consumptions were managed well or carelessly, researchers said, indicating preventing direct contact between people and the gorillas may not be enough to eliminate the possibility of an exchange.
In the article, researchers encouraged hand-washing before and after entering forests, discouraged human defecation in the forest and recommended mandatory wearing of aerosol-limiting face masks for people entering ape habitats.