As gorillas are very closely related to humans, most diseases can be transmitted between the two species. Wherever gorillas live in close proximity to people, their intestines have been found to contain a considerably higher number of human parasites than are present in “wild” gorilla populations.



The most dangerous diseases are those against which gorillas have no antibodies. For example, respiratory diseases are a big problem for mountain gorillas. Scabies can also be dangerous. In the western lowland gorillas, Ebola has recently caused a particularly high number of casualties.



Respiratory diseases are caused by viruses; transmission mostly takes place through droplet infection during sneezing. This is why people who visit the gorillas are required to wear breathing masks in some national parks. The mites that cause scabies are usually transmitted to the gorillas by domestic animals that range close to gorilla habitat. In the case of Ebola, the path of transmission has not yet been fully determined. It is assumed that gorillas catch the disease when they eat fruit on which infected fruit bats have left traces of saliva or faeces.

Understanding Visitors at Tourist Sites to Protect Great Apes from Disease

Nonhuman great apes (bonobos, chimpanzees, eastern gorillas, western gorillas and orangutans) are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases from…


The COVID-19 Pandemic and Mountain Gorilla Health

Respiratory illness outbreaks among wild mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park have declined since the start of COVID-19, according to a…


Bushmeat and COVID-19; What Is the Connection?

The Simple Connection: Emerging Zoonotic Diseases and Human Health

'Bushmeat' is a term used to refer to wild meat in Africa, where forests are…


COVID-19 in Gorillas

Here we will try to answer some of your questions. Giving an answer can be difficult, because little or nothing is known about some things. But we do…


COVID-19 in Captive Gorillas

Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. On 6 January, two of the…


COVID-19 Pandemic Cripples Community Livelihoods

For many households around mountain gorilla parks, tourism has been their lifeline. That is until the COVID-19 pandemic affected the tourism industry…


Zoonoses and Apes

Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Among viruses alone, there are more than 1,000 human pathogens,…


Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Gorillas at Bwindi

We founded Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) in 2003 to prevent zoonotic diseases being transmitted between people and wildlife following…



[Translate to Englisch:]

When Astrid Ebert and Thomas Schulz visited Bwindi National Park and its gorillas 10 years ago, they were delighted. In view of the Corona pandemic…


COVID-19 and Gorilla Doctors

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Never before have we understood the concept of One Health more…


Can Gorillas Be Infected with COVID-19?

Many gorilla friends have already asked themselves this question. So far, the answer is not yet known. However, since many other viruses are dangerous…


Silverback Sagas: Dominance Struggles Among Male Gorillas

When powerful silverbacks jostle for dominance within a group, they can sustain very serious injuries with their long canine teeth. Over the last 30…


Tribute to Kanyonyi

It is with great sadness to inform you about the loss of one of my favorite gorillas in Bwindi, Kanyonyi, the lead silverback of Mubare group. He died…


A One Health Approach to Gorilla Conservation

"One Health" is an approach that addresses human, animal and ecosystem health together. We founded Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) in 2003…


Ebola Reduces Bushmeat Consumption

Bushmeat traders in Watt Market in Calabar, Cross River State, South Eastern Nigeria, are lamenting the poor sales of bushmeat since the outbreak of…


Geriatric Gorillas

[Translate to Englisch:] Colo

December 22, 1956, was a historic day for the zoological world as we welcomed the first successful zoo gorilla birth - a female, eventually named Colo…


Gorillas and Other Primates Discussed in Nairobi

We attended the 19th International Scientific Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11 to 13 September 2013. It was jointly organised by the Institute of…


Blood Samples from Tshiaberimu Gorillas

On a small forested island in the western region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Virunga National Park, a tiny population of Grauer's…


Human Metapneumovirus Infection

Mararo grooming her sick son Impundu (© Magdalena Braum)

The genetic relatedness of mountain gorillas and humans has led to concerns about interspecies transmission of infectious agents. Human-to-gorilla…


Employee Health in Kahuzi-Biega

A ranger has his EHP health check (© MGVP)

Historically, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP), in collaboration with host country national wildlife, natural resource and/or tourism…


Bacterial Exchange

Members of the Rushegura group visiting a lodge in Buhoma (© Uwe Kribus)

The nature and frequency of human contact with wild primates is changing as a result of hunting, human encroachment on wildlife habitats, research,…


Possible Goundou in Gorillas

Specimen A (© Colin Groves)

It is generally recognised that naturally occurring treponematosis is found in some African nonhuman primates. In addition, bone lesions of…


Advantages and Disadvantages of Ape Research and Tourism

The behaviour of free-ranging chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) has been studied in the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire since 1979. Three communities…


Gorilla Deaths Spark Fears at Mount Tshiaberimu

On 10 May, 2008, Molo, one of just 20 rare gorillas living in the forests of Mount Tshiaberimu, in the northern annex of Virunga National Park,…


Ebola - from Bats to Gorillas

Respiratory Diseases in Mountain Gorillas

Sudden Great Ape Die-Off

Where are the Gorillas?

Diseases Shared by Gorillas and Humans

Bushmeat and People’s Health

Conservation Through Public Health

Scabies in Bwindi

Endoparasites in Gorillas and Humans

Scabies in Bwindi Gorillas