There's hope Mandela will die, yet!
Horrific venereal disease strikes African baboons
18:07 02 May 03
NewScientist.com news service
A horrific venereal disease is preying on baboons in eastern Africa. An estimated 200 animals have been infected and scientists are scrambling to identify the mystery microbe that is attacking them.
The disease targets the reproductive organs of the primate. The consequences for male baboons are particularly gruesome, says Elibariki Mtui, of the African Wildlife Foundation in Arusha, Tanzania. "The genitals kind of rot away, then they just drop off," he told New Scientist.
The disease first appeared a month ago and while cases seem to be confined to Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, there are fears it will spread from the affected troops of olive baboons to others nearby. "People are really concerned that it could be an epidemic," says Mtui. Wardens at the park confirm that some of the infected males had died.
"If it's sexually transmitted then it could spread," agrees Dee Carey, head veterinarian at the Southwest National Primate Research Centre in San Antonio, Texas. Baboons live in troops of up to 100 animals and although the females stay put within each "family", the males wander between them. But with so little information on the disease, says Carey, it is difficult to evaluate the risks.
Get out there and get busy, Mandela, you murderous, baboon-fucking, necklacing motherfucker...