Latest Initiatives
Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) is a grassroots, non-profit, non-governmental organization founded by Ugandans in December 2002. Its mission is to promote conservation and public health by improving primary health care to people and animals in and around protected areas in Africa. The overall vision of CTPH is to prevent and control disease transmission where people, wildlife and livestock meet, while cultivating a winning attitude to conservation and public health in local communities. We decided to start our programs in Uganda because we saw a great need to integrate conservation and public health.

Gorilla Journal, No. 28, June 2004.pdf

Ellen Percy Kraly, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Brenda Frey, Kelsey O’Yong, Johanna Johnson, Janice Jones

The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is a highly endangered species with about half of the world’s population, estimated at 650 individuals, found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, BINP is located in east Africa, largely within the borders of Uganda. Increased human-gorilla contact through human population growth, agricultural expansion, and ecotourism has generated a new threat to mountain gorilla conservation – the spread of human-borne infectious disease. Prevalence and incidence of infectious diseases such as scabies, tuberculosis and other parasitic diseases exist as environmental health hazards to susceptible species such as the mountain gorilla. The research presented in this paper represents one of three components of an interdisciplinary research project to monitor disease dynamics in mountain gorilla that includes biological analyses of disease pathogens in the habituated gorilla and spatial analyses of abiotic factors affecting infection rates among gorilla.

This paper considers the interactions among population, health and environment in regions proximate to BINP. This remote park is surrounded by agricultural communities with a total population of over 880,000 characterized by high population density and population growth. As a basis for measuring human health and hygiene behaviors that affect risk of infection among both humans and gorilla, we present survey and interview data that have been collected in parishes proximate to one of the two entrances to BINP. These data offer us the opportunity to explore different strategies by which attitudes and behaviors toward population processes, health and community development, environment and conservation can be monitored in subsequent research. Preliminary analysis of survey and group interview data suggest that although many people in the region have heard of family planning and contraceptives through the programs of health clinics and radio, very few people use any form of contraception. The majority of the people in the villages surveyed assign a positive value to the mountain gorillas and the national park. There do appear to be geographic variations among locales in these attitudes related to proximity to the park entrance, and hence economic benefit derived from tourism in the region. The primary cost of gorilla is destruction of crops. Most respondents recognize that transmission of disease was possible from humans to gorillas, but fewer people realized that disease transmission was possible from gorillas to humans.


Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and Lynne Gaffikin

On the outskirts of remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) in southwestern Uganda, endangered mountain gorillas forage in local gardens that run along the border of the park. Rapid population growth has pushed people to settle near the gorillas’ habitat— sometimes leading to conflict. Our innovative community development program, Conservation Through Public Health, seeks to conserve these magnificent animals, and at the same time, improve the quality of life for Ugandans living near Bwindi. Trained community volunteers protect livelihoods dependent on ecotourism by monitoring diseases like tuberculosis (TB) that can pass from humans to gorillas, potentially threatening the rare species’ survival. Other volunteers teach couples how to use modern family planning (FP) methods that make it easier for them to provide for their children—and reduce the pressure on the forest and its inhabitants.

Focus on population, environment, and security; Issue 17 October 2008.pdf

Carmina Gallardo, Ana Luísa Reis, Glayds Kalema-Zikusoka, Joana Malta, Alejandro Soler, Esther Blanco, R. M.E. Parkhouse, and Alexandre Leitá

African swine fever (ASF) is an infectious and economically important disease of domestic pigs. There is no vaccine and so reliable diagnosis is essential for control strategies. The performance of four recombinant ASFV protein (pK205R, pB602L, p104R and p54) based ELISAs was evaluated with European porcine field sera, established by OIE-approved tests as ASF negatives (119) and ASF positives (80). The {kappa} values show almost perfect agreement between the results of the gold standard (immunobloting) and the results observed with the p54-ELISA ({kappa}=0.95, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 0.99) and with pK205R-ELISA or pB602L-ELISA ({kappa}=0.92, 95% CI, 0.86 to 0.97). With the pA104R-ELISA there was a substantial to almost perfect agreement ({kappa}=0.81, 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.89). Similar results were observed for OIE-ELISA ({kappa}=0.89, 95% CI, 0.82 to 0.95). Importantly, antibodies against these proteins are detectable early after infection of domestic pigs. Preliminary testing of West African (9 positive and 17 negative) sera showed identical results for the recombinant protein-based ELISA and OIE approved tests. In contrast, there was a high specificity but a surprisingly low sensitivity with East African sera (7 positive, 342 negative). With poorly preserved sera only p104R-ELISA showed a significant reduction in sensitivity when compared to OIE-ELISA. Finally, these recombinant proteins also detected antibodies in the sera of the majority of infected warthogs. Thus, the recombinant ASFV proteins p54, pB602L and pK205R provide sensitive and specific targets to detect antibodies in European and West African domestic pigs and in warthogs.

Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, doi:10.1128/CVI.00408-08

Jessica M. Rothman, Dwight D. Bowman, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, and John Bosco Nkurunungy

Detecting disease threats to endangered species and their ecosystems plays a crucial role in the survival of a population (McCallum & Dobson, 1995). As human pressure increases around and within habitats that contain endangered species, so does the potential for disease transmission. Communities and wildlife managers must act proactively to discourage and prevent zoonotic disease transmission between humans and endangered wildlife.

Primates of Western Uganda, ISBN 978-0-387-32342-8 (Print) 978-0-387-33505-6

Kalema-Zikusoka G, Bengis RG, Michel AL, Woodford MH.

A survey to determine the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis and certain other infectious diseases was conducted on 42 free-ranging African buffaloes, (Syncerus caffer) from May to June 1997 in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. Using the gamma interferon test, exposure to M. bovis was detected in 21.6% of the buffaloes. One dead buffalo and an emaciated warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) that was euthanased, were necropsied; both had miliary granulomas from which M. bovis was isolated. None of the buffaloes sampled in Sector A of the park, which has no cattle interface, tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (BTB) exposure. The prevalence and distribution of BTB does not appear to have changed significantly since the 1960s, but this may be due to fluxes in the buffalo population. Serological testing for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) demonstrated positive exposure of 57.1% of the buffaloes sampled, with types A, O and SAT 1-3, which is the first known report of FMD antibodies to A and O types in free ranging African buffaloes. Foot-and-mouth disease virus types SAT 1 and SAT 3 were isolated from buffalo probang samples. Two percent of the buffaloes had been exposed to brucellosis. None of the buffaloes tested had antibodies to rinderpest, leptospirosis or Q fever.

Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 2005 Jun; 72(2): 145-51

Gladys Kalema-ZikusokaB.Vet.Med., M.R.C.V.S. and Linda LowenstineD.V.M., Ph.D.

A juvenile female mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) of the Mubare tourist group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, developed a severe, complete rectal prolapse that did not spontaneously resolve. Eight months prior, a juvenile female mountain gorilla of the Mubare group developed a mild, complete rectal prolapse that resolved spontaneously within 24 hr. Field guides reported that spontaneously resolving prolapses had been seen previously in two other juveniles, one of which was from the Mubare group. The tissue became increasingly necrotic and maggot infested over the course of 1 wk. Surgical intervention involved amputation of the affected rectal tissues and suturing the viable portion to the anal sphincter muscle with simple interrupted absorbable sutures. The surgery was performed in the field in accordance with Uganda Wildlife Authority policies. Antibiotics and anthelmintics were administered systemically, and the gorilla returned to the group. The gorilla appeared to recover fully after 3 wk. Histology of the resected rectal tissue confirmed intense inflammation and necrosis with myiasis but did not reveal an underlying etiology.

Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 32(4): 509-513. 2001

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Jessica M. Rothman, and Mark T. Fox

A survey in 1994 examined intestinal helminths and bacterial flora of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Parasites and bacteria were identified to genus in the feces of two groups of tourist-habituated and one group of non-tourist-habituated mountain gorillas. Eggs were identified as those of an anoplocephalid cestode, and nematode eggs representative of the genera: Trichuris, Ascaris, Oesophagostomum, Strongyloides, and Trichostrongylus. This is the first report of Ascaris lumbricoides-like eggs in mountain gorillas. Fecal samples (n=76) from all groups contained helminth eggs, with strongyle eggs and anoplocephalid eggs being the most common. Salmonella and Campylobacter were found in both gorilla groups. Regular long-term non-invasive fecal monitoring of the populations of mountain gorillas is essential for the prevention and identification of potential health threats by intestinal parasites and bacteria in this highly endangered subspecies.

Primates, Volume 46, Number 1 / January, 2005

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