Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Patricia G. Parker


Robert Marquis

Emily Wroblewski

Nathan Muchhala


Zoonotic infections are easily shared between human and other primates, and thus primate trafficking poses a high risk of introducing zoonotic pathogens into urban environments as well as spreading human-associated diseases into natural environments when infected primates are released. The magnitude of these risks has not been thoroughly studied in the context of primate trafficking and rehabilitation of Neotropical primates. In this dissertation, I address some knowledge gaps in disease risk analysis of reintroducing trafficked primates. In chapter 1, I describe the dynamics, diversity, and composition of live wildlife trafficking in urban markets in Peru. I found these markets are connected in a structured network that provides consumers with a diverse selection of species from across the country. This assessment confirmed primates are the most frequently traded mammal taxa in Peru, and showed how species are transported from the Amazon forests they naturally inhabit towards cities that serve as trafficking nodes and could become new zoonotic disease hotspots. In chapter 2, I compare the diversity and frequency of zoonotic infections harbored by captive Neotropical primates across the contexts for human-animal interactions generated by the primate trafficking. I found that parasite communities show overall low variation among primates at zoos and rescue centers, households, and wildlife markets. It demonstrated that the threats of primate trafficking to One Health continue beyond wildlife markets; trafficked monkeys contribute to the translocation of zoonotic parasites to households and other captive facilities where contact with humans is frequent. For chapter 3, I evaluated the circulation of human herpes simplex virus 1, Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, and malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) at primate rescue centers. I describe the prevalence, frequency of co-infections, and associations between these agents to highlight the importance of identifying and monitoring infectious hazards for the mitigation of disease risks associated with primate translocations. For chapter 4, I conducted the first survey of herpesviruses in non-experimental Neotropical primates, generating a baseline of the natural circulation of these viruses in a multi-species population, and providing evidence of non-lethal cross-species transmission. Together, these results provide a detailed evaluation of the multiple facets of primate trafficking and reintroductions that need to be addressed to mitigate disease risks associated with wildlife trafficking.

Available for download on Friday, October 25, 2024