The 2003 Epidemic of a Flu-Like Respiratory Disease at Bossou

  • Tatyana Humle
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


Disease is one of the major threats facing great apes today. Chimpanzees across Africa are fatally susceptible to a variety of diseases, including Ebola and a range of typically human-borne diseases ranging from pneumonia to polio. In November 2003, all members of the Bossou community suffered from an outbreak of respiratory disease that resulted in the confirmed death of four individuals (two infants, one adolescent male, and one old adult female) and the presumed death of one old adult female. This chapter aims to present the sequence of events that escalated in the loss of these five chimpanzees. The only other confirmed respiratory disease outbreak at Bossou since 1976 occurred in 1992 and resulted in the death of an infant. Finally, the 2003 epidemic strongly reminds us of the vulnerability of chimpanzees to human-borne diseases, especially respiratory diseases, and the urgent need to put in place practical measures aimed at preventing the occurrence of similar outbreaks in the future.


Coffee Plantation Dead Body Wild Chimpanzee Local Staff Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus 
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I am particularly grateful to Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Gen Yamakoshi, Kathelijne Koops, Dora Biro, and Misato Hayashi, as well as all our local assistants at Bossou, especially Guano Goumy and Tino Zogbila, for their assistance and support throughout this difficult period that was the 2003 epidemic of respiratory disease at Bossou.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Anthropology and Conservation, The Marlowe BuildingUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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