EUPRIM-Net Courses on general primate biology

Course PrimBio 26/11
Primate Diseases and Health Problems

Diseases and parasites belong to life; and primates – like other animals – are affected. This course is dedicated to this topic and will provide background information as well as practical aspects concerning health problems in captive primates.

Course Schedule

Monday, 26.11.
08:15 am Registration
09:00 Welcome, Information about EUPRIM-Net and the Course Series
Eckhard Heymann, Deike Terruhn
09:15 Diseases and parasites of wild primates
Thomas Gillespie, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US
10:45 Coffee Break
11:00 Diseases and parasites of wild primates
Thomas Gillespie, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US
12:30 Lunch Break at DPZ
02:00 pm Parasites of Non-human Primates (presentation, annex)
Manfred Brack, formerly DPZ
03:30 Coffee Break
04:00 Parasites of Non-human Primates
Manfred Brack, formerly DPZ
05:00 End of Session
05:15 Relaxing “In the Wild – Operation Lemur with John Cleese” (Movie in the lecture theatre)
06:30 Dinner at DPZ*
Tuesday, 27.11.
09:00 am Anaesthesia & Anaesthetic Management
Gerco Braskamp, BPRC, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
10:30 Coffee Break
Group Photograph
12:30 Lunch Break at University Cafeteria
02:00 pm Health problems for humans working with primates, part A, part B
Susanne Rensing, Covance Laboratories GmbH, Münster, Germany
05:15 4 slots for participants to present their home institutions
06:15 End of Session
Wednesday, 28.11.
09:00 am Primate pathology
Franz-Josef Kaup, DPZ
12:30 Lunch Break at University Cafeteria
02:00 pm Guided Tour through the DPZ Facilities
04:00 Guided Tour "Along the old Town Rampart" / Town of Göttingen (optional)
Transfer: Bus No. 5 from “Kellnerweg” to “Markt” at 3:09 or 3:39
06:00 Dinner in the Restaurant of the German Theatre (optional)
  The Göttingen Christmas Market starts today at the Gänseliesel
Thursday, 29.11.
09:00 am Handling and training of primates for health examination and experimentation
Karolina Westlund
, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control
12:30 Lunch Break at University Cafeteria
02:00 pm Handling and training of primates for health examination and experimentation
Karolina Westlund
, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control
04:30 Closing Remarks (until 04:45)
05:00 Optional Exam (1 hour)
  *Extra Cost for Dinner (15 € - has to be booked and paid on the first day of course if you like to participate)



Diseases and Parasites of Wild Primates
Thomas Gillespie, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign , US
A diversity of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, helminths, fungi, and arthropods have been identified as causes of both epidemic mortality and chronic disease in wild primates. Additionally, many of these pathogens are zoonotic, presenting unique challenges for public and global health. However, knowledge of infectious diseases and their transmission in wild primates remains limited. This workshop will provide an overview of pathogens of importance in wild primate populations and describe approaches and techniques for detecting such pathogens in a field setting.

Further reading: Thomas R. Gillespie "Noninvasive Assessment of Gastrointestinal Parasite Infections in Free-Ranging Primates", International Journal of Primatology, 2006, 27( 4)
Parasites of Non-human Primates
Manfred Brack, formerly DPZ
An extensive list of more than 500 species of protozoa, nematodes, trematodes, cestodes and arthropods parasitizing in nonhuman primates is provided according to literature references and own experiences. Parasites occurring also in man are particularly labelled.
The descriptions focus mainly on the epidemiology, life cycles and diseases of the most important parasites, but do not go too far into the morphological details of the parasites beyond the genus level. The parasites explained more closely are Entamoeba histolytica, leptomyxids, resp. Balamuthia mandrillaris, Balantidium coli, Giardia lamblia, Trypanosoma cruzi, the plasmodia, Hepatocystis ssp., Toxoplasma gondii, Strongyloides spp., Oesophagostomids, Trichostrongylids (esp. Molineus spp.), Metastrongylids (Angiostrongylus spp., Filaroides spp.), Baylisascaris procyonis, Spirurids (esp. Trichospirura leptostoma , Gongylonema pulchrum), Filaria, Trichinelloidea (esp. Capillaria hepatica), Acanthocephala, Schistosoma spp., Hydatids and lung mites.
Health problems for humans working with primates
Susanne Rensing, Covance Laboratories GmbH, Münster, Germany
Zoonotic diseases are of concern in a variety of taxa that are maintained in zoological facilities, ranging from zoos, circuses, laboratories, pet owners to wildlife. The taxonomic group of nonhumane primates (NHPs) includes Prosimians, New World Monkeys, Old World Monkeys as well as Great Apes.
NHPs and humans share a number of diseases, some or more can cause serious or fatal diseases in humans or vice versa. Professional practice about animal handling as well as tissue or blood, wearing of appropriate Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) should be included in individual occupational nonhuman primate safety policies and training protocols to avoid disease transmission.
An overview about the most common diseases, risk assessment and management based on scientific data and epidemiological principles is given.
Anaesthesia & Anaesthetic Management
Gerco Braskamp, Biomedical Primate Research Centre, BPRC, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
- Can Animals feel Pain?
Whether animals can feel pain has been a controversial issue for many years. Animals and humans share similar mechanisms of pain detection, have similar areas of the brain involved in processing pain and show similar pain behaviors, but it is difficult to assess how animals actually experience pain.
Pain = An unpleasant Sensory and Emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage Prevention and alleviation of pain and stress in laboratory animals is an ethical imperative.
Animal species differ in how they manifest distress, whether from pain or from other sources and this complicates its recognition.
Veterinarians and researchers should identify and eliminate sources of pain and distress.
This might, indirectly, help to reduce the number of animals needed for experimental purposes; uncontrolled pain or distress can increase the variability in experimental data and so require the use of more animals in a study for it to achieve statistical significance.

- Anaesthesia & Anaesthetic Management
The use of safe and effective anaesthetic techniques can have a major influence on the welfare of animals. Improvement of anaesthetic techniques should be considered an essential aspect of the refinement of experimental methods.
If animals must be used for experimental purposes, pain and distress should be reduced to an absolute minimum. (Pain=stress=release of ACTH and abnormal behaviour)
It is the responsibility of veterinarians and researchers to review their current anaesthetic practices and to introduce improvements whenever possible.
Following the administration of an anaesthetic, it is essential to assess that the required depth of anaesthesia has been achieved. It is also helpful to monitor the vital signs of the patient and the function of any anaesthetic apparatus that is in use. Anaesthesia is not a simple thing, it’s important to understand the physiology of the animals you will be anaesthetized and to learn about the drugs you use.

- Handling & Restraint
Keeping in mind that nonhuman primates regardless of origin are still wild animals and will resist restraint. Direct contact with animals without the use of chemical restraint is not recommended. Personal protection equipment should always be worn when handling monkeys to help prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases such as herpes B to the handler or the spread of tuberculosis (TB) to the primates. The amount of restraint (generally chemical) and its duration should be kept to the minimum necessary to complete the procedure. All necessary equipment and reagents for the procedure should be ready prior to restraint. The use of pre-anesthetic sedatives/tranquilizers will help reduce anxiety and the subsequent doses of other agents.
Primate pathology
Franz-Josef Kaup, DPZ
Handling and training of primates for health examination and experimentation
Karolina Westlund, SMI, Sweden
In later years, legislation regarding the housing and care of laboratory primates have undergone a substantial revision (ETS 123, 2004; EEC Directorate C, 2002). Breeding standards, the importance of social housing and the use of environmental enrichment to promote species-specific behaviours have been identified as important areas where improvements may be made, apart from the obvious changes such as using larger cages to accomodate animals. Furthermore, stressful handling of nonhuman primates in conjunction with blood sampling, injections and other experimental procedures is argued to have a negative impact on the animal welfare, and is also recognised as a potential confounding factor in biomedical research. Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) of the animals for participation in such procedures is proposed to dramatically reduce the stress level for the animals, promote more reliable experimental results, and lead to an increased safety, both for animals and personnel (see for instance Reinhardt: Training nonhuman primates to cooperate during handling procedures: a review. Animal technology, 48: 55-73, 1997). It has been pointed out by the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare within Directorate C of the European Commission that training of animals “...promotes safety and valid and efficient data collection, diminishing data variability and reducing the number of animals required to obtain statistically significant results.” (The welfare of non-human primates used in research, 17 December 2002).

This full day lecture will give an introduction to animal training using Operant Conditioning. I explain what negative and positive reinforcement is and describe the two most commonly used techniques to train desired behaviours (targeting and shaping). I also discuss how to get rid of undesired behaviours (using different strategies such as extinction, time outs and training an incompatible behaviour), and I elaborate on why punishment is generally not a good idea to use as a training tool. One important aspect of animal training is getting control of the behaviour, and I go over how to add a cue (tell the animal which behaviour to perform) when training. In addition, I give some tips and ideas of how to get started. We also do a problem solving discussion. Overall I show a lot of videos of animals being trained and doing behaviours. We also engage in a game called the Training Game, where we get to practice our newfound skills – on each other! Finally, the participants practice writing shaping plans – detailed instructions on how a particular behaviour should be trained.

Training is easy but not simple. It includes a vocabulary that might intimidate a new trainer. Before the lecture, a terminology list will be given to the participants, who should familiarize themselves with the expressions before the lecture.