Annals of Saudi medicine

Association between Papio hamadryas populations and human gastrointestinal infectious diseases in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

PMID 25811201


Papio hamadryas baboons, known reservoirs of several infectious diseases, roam and deposit their excreta indiscriminately on footpaths, parks, and streets of the city peripheries of Taif, Baha, and Abha in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, city centers of these places are free of baboons. This study aims to determine the impact of baboons on human gastrointestinal health. This is a descriptive cross-sectional analytical ecological study conducted in 3 cities located in southwestern Saudi Arabia between July 2011 and July 2012. We investigated the impact of these baboons on the human health through a coprological survey of infectious agents of baboons and humans in these 3 cities using macroscopic and micro.scopic analyses, before and after parasite concentration, and culturing of bacteria on selective and differential media, which were then identified by 16S rDNA gene sequencing. Baboon fecal samples (n=823) were collected from city peripheries. Two groups of human fecal samples, each consisting of 795 samples were collected, one from city centers and the second from city peripheries where baboons intermingle with the human population. Baboon fecal samples were the most contaminated with infectious agents, except for Staphylococcus aureus, which was more commonly present in human fecal samples collected from city peripheries. Human fecal samples collected form city peripheries showed higher rates of most infective agents than those collected from city centers. This indicates that baboons are medically important reservoirs of infectious agents associated with higher human coproprevalence of gastrointestinal infectious agents.