• Question: what diseases can baboons get?

    Asked by tporter10 to Cassie on 20 Nov 2013. This question was also asked by amazibogles14, liamthorne.
    • Photo: Cassandra Raby

      Cassandra Raby answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Good question – and I guess this depends on where the baboons live.

      There are 5 different baboon species (although there is some arguement about this)… and they live all across the different countries in Africa! That’s a lot of different areas to cover.

      So what the environment is like totally changes what diseases they might get.
      If baboons eat wast from humans they can get TB – just like the badgers in the UK have!
      They can also get hepatitus (caused by a virus), and a virus called herpes. You might have heard of both of these before as humans can get them too!
      Some baboons can get SIV (which is similar to HIV)

      … and these are just some of the examples of diseases they can get! Just like humans there are a range of diseases that infect them.

      There are also parasites of the gut (which is where I come in…). Again there are many species that can infect baboons, but I’ll make a list of the ones that I look for…

      So, wormy parasites:
      Streptopharagus pigmentatus
      Physaloptera caucasia

      And amoeba parasites:
      Balantidium coli
      Entamoeba histolytica
      Entamoeba coli
      Entamoeba dispar

      And sometimes we see other eggs too.. like Toxocara!
      They have pretty complicated names, don’t you think?

      So those are some of the diseases that I look at. Some baboons have many more types of parasites living inside them, but where my baboons live is a desert – and the dry environment makes it hard for the diseases to live, and spread!

      If I won the money from this competition I would be able to make videos giving students ‘tours’ of inside the poo samples to see how I find diseases!