Naturally-acquired leprosy has been observed in chimpanzees and sooty mangabey monkeys. Experimental multibacillary leprosy was established in 24 of 36 mangabey monkeys, 7 of 34 rhesus monkeys, and 15 of 19 African green monkeys following intravenous and intradermal inoculation of Mycobacterium leprae. The experimental disease strongly resembles leprosy in humans clinically, histopathologically, and immunologically. Thus, in addition to nine-banded armadillos in Louisiana and Texas, chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys in Africa, in the wild or in captivity, may serve as a zoonotic source of M. leprae. Investigators using chimpanzees and monkeys should be alerted to the possibility of naturally-acquired leprosy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases