Chimpanzees are dying of human diseases

Great apes are vulnerable to human pathogens thanks to genetic similarity, increased contact and no immunity

Photo collage of a sick gorilla overlaid with vintage style illustrations of virus molecules
(Image credit: Illustration by Julia Wytrazek / Getty Images)

Humans threaten great ape populations by destroying habitats or poaching animals for zoos and meat – or it seems by infecting them with the common cold. 

"For as long as humans have been domesticating animals, there have been zoonoses" – or the spread of infectious diseases from animals to humans – said the Emerging Pathogens Institute. Recently, public health emergencies like Covid-19 or avian flu have "thrust zoonoses back into the spotlight".

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