Implications of tourist-macaque interactions for disease transmission

Carne, Charlotte and Semple, Stuart and MacLarnon, Ann and Majolo, Bonaventura and Marechal, Laetitia (2017) Implications of tourist-macaque interactions for disease transmission. EcoHealth, 14 (4). pp. 704-717. ISSN 1612-9202

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-017-1284-3

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Implications of tourist-macaque interactions for disease transmission
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Abstract

During wildlife tourism, proximity or actual contact between people and animals may lead to a significant risk of anthropozoonotic disease transmission. In this paper, we use social network analysis, disease simulation modelling and data on animal health and behaviour to investigate such risks at a site in Morocco, where tourists come to see wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Measures of individual macaques’ network centrality—an index of the strength and distribution of their social relationships and thus potentially their ability to spread disease—did not show clear and consistent relationships with their time spent in close proximity to, or rate of interacting with, tourists. Disease simulation modelling indicated that while higher-ranked animals had a significantly greater ability to spread disease within the group, in absolute terms there was little difference in the size of outbreaks that different individuals were predicted to cause. We observed a high rate of physical contact and close proximity between humans and macaques, including during three periods when the macaques were coughing and sneezing heavily, highlighting the potential risk of disease transmission. We recommend that general disease prevention strategies, such as those aimed at reducing opportunities for contact between tourists and macaques, should be adopted.

Keywords:Disease transmission risks Macaca sylvanus Modelling Primates Tourist–wildlife interactions Wildlife tourism
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C910 Applied Biological Sciences
C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:29679
Deposited On:24 Nov 2017 16:02

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