Gastrointestinal parasites of the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus [Cercopithecus] aethiops) at a sanctuary in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Fifty-eight fecal samples from vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus [Cercopithecus] aethiops) at a sanctuary near Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, South Africa, were collected and analyzed to determine which species of gastrointestinal parasites they harbored, and differences in infection rates were examined. Three parasites were found, including two nematodes (Trichuris trichiura and one tentatively classified as Strongyloides spp.) and one protozoa (Balantidium coli). Rates of B. coil and Strongyloides spp. infection were similar in captive (41.9% and 77.4%, respectively) and wild (35% and 75%, respectively) monkeys, but rates of T. trichiura infection were significantly higher in wild individuals. No captives were infected with T. trichiura, but 15% of wild monkeys were infected. Although humans in other regions of South Africa have already been found to harbor two of these parasites (Strongyloides spp. and T. trichiura), caution should still be taken in areas that experience high rates of human-vervet interaction or conflict. Also, evidence suggests that the vervets may have been exposed to B. coil from a nearby pig farm, indicating that humans may pose as much of a threat to vervet health as vice versa.