Fecal samples from 55 free-ranging olive baboons (Papio anubis) in Mole National Park, Ghana, were collected 22 June–7 July 2008 and analyzed for gastrointestinal parasites. This is the first survey of baboon gastrointestinal parasites in Ghana and provides baseline data for this area. Ninety-three percent of samples were infected, leaving 7% with no parasites observed. Of those infected, there was a 76% prevalence of strongyles, 53% Strongyloides spp., 11% Abbreviata caucasica, 62% prevalence of Balantidium coli (trophozoites and cysts identified), 4% Entomeba hystolytica/dispar, and 47% unidentified protozoan parasites. Of the strongyle infections, 9% were identified as Oesophagostamum sp. One sample contained an unidentified spirurid nematode that resembled Gongylonema sp. Mole has a mixed forest-savanna habitat, and baboons frequently range into human areas, which makes them subject to parasites from each habitat and multiple sources of exposure. We found a high prevalence of nematode parasites, consistent with a wet or cooler forest environment, or high rates of fecal contamination. The presence of Strongyloides sp., E. hystolitica/dispar, and B. coli suggest potential public health risk from baboons, but molecular identification of these parasites, and documentation of their presence in local human populations, would be necessary to confirm zoonotic transmission.
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Vol. 98 • No. 4