We conducted cross-sectional surveys of parasites infecting a large free-living colony of baboons at the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio in October 2003 and April 2004, immediately before, and 6 mo after, treatment with ivermectin. Trichuris sp. was the predominant species present, infecting 79 and 69% of individual animals in the 2 surveys, with fecal egg counts (FEC) of up to 60,200 eggs per g (epg) (mean = 1,235 in October 2003 and 1,256 in April 2004). Prevalence remained fairly stable across age groups, and intensity was highest in animals <1 or >15 yr old, in contrast to patterns observed in humans, where school-age children show the heaviest infections. Strongyloides sp. was also identified, but the species identity remains uncertain. Small subunit ribosomal DNA sequences differed from published sequences of Strongyloides fuelleborni at multiple sites, but resided in a monophyletic group with other Strongyloides species with 92% bootstrap support. This may reflect a recent acquisition from a local host, or that the published sequence of S. fuelleborni is incorrect. Widespread infections with 2 nematode genera in a free-ranging baboon colony that are an important source of morbidity in human populations provide a useful model system for work on the epidemiology, control, pathology, and genetics of these parasites in a host species that is physiologically, immunologically, and genetically similar to humans.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1