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Prevalence of bacterial zoonoses in selected trophy hunted species, and the potential of human health risk in Bwabwata National park, Namibia

By Matheus-Auwa Ameya

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Zoonotic diseases are infections acquired from vertebrate animals (wild or domesticated) animals to humans through direct or indirect contact with live animals, their derivatives or contaminated surroundings. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of potential bacterial zoonoses in selected trophy hunted species Loxodonta Africana (African Elephant), Syncerus caffer (African Buffalo), Tragelaphus strepsiceros (Kudu), Hippopotamus amphibious (Hippopotamus), Hippotragus niger (Sable antelope), and Hippotragus equinus (Roan antelope), and the potential human health risk in Bwabwata National Park, North East Namibia. The Park covers an area size of 6 274 km2. It is divided in three Core Areas designated for wildlife conservation and controlled tourism namely: Kwando, Buffalo and Mahango core area and a large Multiple Use Area zoned for community-based tourism, trophy hunting, human settlement and development by the resident community. Forty-four tissue samples (kidney, heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and lymph nodes) were drawn from freshly shot carcasses of kudu (3), buffalo (2), hippo (1), roan (1), sable (1) and elephant (1). Blood Agar (BA), MacConkey Agar (McC) and Eosin Methylene Blue-agar (EMB) were used as culture media. A total of 16 isolates were obtained and identified using the Biochemical methods and the amplification of the 16S rRNA gene. All bacteria isolated are potential human pathogens. The prevalence 50% (8 of 16) of potential bacterial zoonoses was highest in Kudu followed by Sable 37.5% (6 of 16) and Hippo 31.25 % (5 of 16). While it was low in Buffalo 25% (4 of 16), Roan 18.75% (3 of 16) and Elephant 12.5% (2 of 16). Kidney tissues had the highest prevalence 68.8% (11 of 16), followed by liver 32.5% (10 of 16), heart 37.5% (6 of 16), lung 31.25% (5 of 16), spleen 31.25% (5 of 16) and lymph nodes 18.75% (3 of 16). Klebsiella pneumonia dominated the tissue organs 18.9% (recovered 8 times from 44 tissues), Micrococcus caseolyticus dominated the animals 66.7% (4 times from 6 animals). Phylogenetic relationship formed four clusters with 58-100% bootstrap values. This study demonstrated the prevalence of potential bacterial zoonoses in trophy hunted animals in BNP which might pose potential human health risk if transmitted. Trophy hunters and the BNP community should therefore be informed about the risks associated with trophy hunted animals and their derivatives.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Pages 139
Publisher University of Namibia
Department Department of Biological Sciences
Degree Master's
Language English
University University of Namibia
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Bacteria
  4. Health
  5. Hunting
  6. Namibia
  7. open access
  8. Zoonoses
  1. open access