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Does eco-tourism threaten wildlife? (travel).

Much attention has been given to the possibility of tourists catching diseases from wild animals. Now, however, researchers in Botswana have identified the first cases of human tuberculosis crossing the species barrier to affect African wildlife.

At the Chobe National Park in Botswana, human TB has inflicted a group of banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), while a troop of suricates, or slender-tailed meerkats (Suricata suricatta) was recently decimated by the disease in the southern Kalahari Desert.

The culprit, says Kathleen Alexander, president and CEO of the Centre for Conservation of African Resources in Botswana, is ecotourism. The animals probably caught the disease from tourism employees working in bush camps and lodges. Understanding the potential health risks humans pose for wildlife is important, says Alexander, to develop effective programmes to protect both public and wildlife health.

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Title Annotation:human to animal transmission of disease
Author:Hellier, Chris
Publication:Geographical
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6BOTS
Date:Sep 1, 2002
Words:134
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