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Implications of Tourist-Macaque Interactions for Disease Transmission

Carne, Charlotte; Semple, Stuart; MacLarnon, Ann; Majolo, Bonaventura; Marechal, Laetitia

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Charlotte Carne

Stuart Semple

Bonaventura Majolo

Laetitia Marechal


During wildlife tourism, proximity or actual contact between people and animals may lead to a significant risk of anthropozoonotic disease transmission. In this paper, we use social network analysis, disease simulation modelling and data on animal health and behaviour to investigate such risks at a site in Morocco, where tourists come to see wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Measures of individual macaques’ network centrality—an index of the strength and distribution of their social relationships and thus potentially their ability to spread disease—did not show clear and consistent relationships with their time spent in close proximity to, or rate of interacting with, tourists. Disease simulation modelling indicated that while higher-ranked animals had a significantly greater ability to spread disease within the group, in absolute terms there was little difference in the size of outbreaks that different individuals were predicted to cause. We observed a high rate of physical contact and close proximity between humans and macaques, including during three periods when the macaques were coughing and sneezing heavily, highlighting the potential risk of disease transmission. We recommend that general disease prevention strategies, such as those aimed at reducing opportunities for contact between tourists and macaques, should be adopted.


Carne, C., Semple, S., MacLarnon, A., Majolo, B., & Marechal, L. (2017). Implications of Tourist-Macaque Interactions for Disease Transmission. EcoHealth, 14(4), 704-717.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 17, 2017
Publication Date Nov 17, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 23, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 28, 2018
Journal EcoHealth
Print ISSN 1612-9202
Electronic ISSN 1612-9210
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 704-717


Published Journal Article (581 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2017. <br /> This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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