The spread of disease from animal to human is no new phenomenon; the bubonic plague spread through rat fleas, Rabies normally transfers through animal bites and Ebola has commonly been linked to bats. It’s called zoonosis: when a disease from an infected animal population spills over to humans.
But pathogens can spread both ways. Humans can pass diseases to animals, too (called anthropozoonosis).
Cryptosporidiosis, commonly called Crypto, is one such disease taking a particular toll on chimpanzees within Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. A thorough analysis of the epidemiology of cryptosporidium – the parasite that causes Crypto – recently published in PLOS One, reveals the complexities of disease transmission in the Gombe ecosystem. The discovery could have broader implications on wildlife and chimpanzee conservation models.