A group of Argentine scientists, including health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, have announced that yellow fever is the culprit in a 2007-2008 die-off of howler monkeys in northeastern Argentina, a finding that underscores the importance of paying attention to the health of wildlife and how the health of people and wild nature are so closely linked.
The paper—appearing in a recent edition of the American Journal of Primatology—focuses on yellow fever outbreaks that were documented in several howler monkey populations of Misiones Province, Argentina. The epidemics, which caused the death of dozens of rare howler monkeys, signaled the need for a human vaccination program in the region to save lives.
"The outbreak has tragic conservation implications for the endangered brown howler monkey, one of the two species affected, which is highly threatened primarily by habitat destruction, hunting, and now disease," said Dr. Pablo Beldomenico. "The study also points out the importance of wildlife as a critically important indicator of health and disease processes which can help protect people too."
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