Virus threatens mountain gorillas

2011-03-30 21:08

Nairobi - A new study has found that a virus causing deadly respiratory diseases in humans can be passed on to critically endangered mountain gorillas in Central Africa.

Researchers who spent time in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park said they found traces of Human Metapneumovirus during post-mortem examinations of two gorillas that died in 2009.

The two were in a group of 12 infected by a respiratory disease.

The study by researchers from various institutions, including Columbia University and the University of California, was published on Tuesday in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are only 786 mountain gorillas in the wild. They live in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.