AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Objectives The ongoing risk of emerging infectious disease has renewed calls for understanding the origins of zoonoses and identifying future zoonotic disease threats. Given their close phylogenetic relatedness and geographic overlap with humans, non-human primates (NHPs) have been the source of many infectious diseases throughout human evolution. NHPs harbor diverse parasites, with some infecting only a single host species while others infect species from multiple families. Materials and Methods We applied a novel link-prediction method to predict undocumented instances of parasite sharing between humans and NHPs. Our model makes predictions based on phylogenetic distances and geographic overlap among NHPs and humans in six countries with high NHP diversity: Columbia, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, China, and Indonesia. Results Of the 899 human parasites documented in the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON) database for these countries, 12% were shared with at least one other NHP species. The link prediction model identified an additional 54 parasites that are likely to infect humans but were not reported in GIDEON. These parasites were mostly host generalists, yet their phylogenetic host breadth varied substantially. Discussion As human activities and populations encroach on NHP habitats, opportunities for parasite sharing between human and NHPs will continue to increase. Our study identifies specific infectious organisms to monitor in countries with high NHP diversity, while the comparative analysis of host generalism, parasite taxonomy, and transmission mode provides insights to types of parasites that represent high zoonotic risk.