[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
As you probably know, viruses can jump from animals to people. We’ve gotten flu from birds and pigs. And HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is thought to have come from chimps. But swapping bugs is a two-way street. Because scientists from Virginia Tech have found that African chimps are coming down with human viruses.
How and where the chimps caught this bug remains a mystery. But it’s possible they got it from scientists, or tourists, who frequent the park. The husband and wife research team, and their four-year-old daughter, have been living and working in the park for the past year in a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly field laboratory. There they hope to develop ways to monitor and protect the health of these endangered apes. Of course the best way to protect the chimps might be to remind visitors to sneeze into their sleeves and avoid being too simpatico with the simians.