From the mouths of monkeys: New technique detects tuberculosis

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Buddhist monks watch the research team weigh a temple monkey.

By Leila Gray
UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Tuberculosis can be a serious threat to monkeys and apes. A new technique for detecting the tuberculosis -causing bacteria could help in protecting the health of primate populations. The method can spot TB even among infected primates that show no outward sign of disease, but are still capable of spreading infection to others of their kind.

Existing tests for TB in primates are difficult to apply and give unreliable results, often failing to detect infections.

With the new approach, researchers obtained the first published evidence of TB pathogens in the mouths of Asian monkeys living near people. The study appears in the latest issue of the American Journal of Primatology. Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, a senior research scientist at the Washington National Primate Research Center, headed the international project.

Read the full article at UW Today.