BACKGROUND: Wildlife may harbor infectious pathogens that are of zoonotic concern acting as a reservoir of diseases transmissible to humans and domestic animals. This is due to human-wildlife conflicts that have become more frequent and severe over recent decades, competition for the available natural habitats and resources leading to increased human encroachment on previously wild and uninhabited areas.
METHODS: A total of 88 spleen DNA samples from baboons and vervet monkeys from Zambia were tested for zoonotic pathogens using genus or species-specific PCR. The amplified products were then subjected to sequencing analysis.
RESULTS: We detected three different pathogenic agents, including Anaplasma phagocytophilum in 12 samples (13.6%), Rickettsia spp. in 35 samples (39.8%) and Babesia spp. in 2 samples (2.3%).
CONCLUSION: The continuously increasing contacts between humans and primate populations raise concerns about transmission of pathogens between these groups. Therefore, increased medical and public awareness and public health surveillance support will be required to detect and control infections caused by these agents at the interface between humans and wildlife.