Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26876732
Link to DOI – 10.1111/tbed.12481
Transbound Emerg Dis 2017 Aug; 64(4): 1159-1167
Illegal bushmeat traffic is an important threat to biodiversity conservation of several endangered species and may contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases in humans. The hunting, manipulation and consumption of wildlife-based products, especially those of primate origin, may be a threat to human health; however, few studies have investigated the role of bushmeat trade and consumption as a potential source of human infections to date. In this study, we report the screening of viral pathogens in African simian game seized by French customs at Toulouse Blagnac Airport. Epifluorescence microscopy revealed the presence of virus-like particles in the samples, and further metagenomic sequencing of the DNA and RNA viromes confirmed the presence of sequences related to the Siphoviridae, Myoviridae and Podoviridae bacteriophage families; some of them infecting bacterial hosts that could be potentially pathogenic for humans. To increase the sensitivity of detection, twelve pan-generic PCRs targeting several viral zoonoses were performed, but no positive signal was detected. A large-scale inventory of bacteria, viruses and parasites is urgently needed to globally assess the risk for human health of the trade, manipulation and consumption of wildlife-related bushmeat.