Serologic Assessment for Hepatitis B Virus in the Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) SSPĀ© Population for Prospective Population Management
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2013
Laura Cummins Meals1, DVM; Steve R. Ross2, MS, PhD; Curtis Eng3, DVM; Kathryn C. Gamble4, DVM, MS, DACZM, DECZM (ZHM)
1Dana Point, CA, USA; Lincoln Park Zoo; 2Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, and 4Veterinary Department, Chicago, IL, USA; 3Los Angeles Zoo, Veterinary Department, Los Angeles, CA, USA


In primate species, including humans, hepatitis B virus is a horizontally transmitted infectious hepatopathy which can present as acute, chronic, or inapparent disease, and it may progress to hepatocellular carcinoma or carrier status.1,4,6,7 Within the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) SSP© population, individuals have been confirmed with positive hepatitis B serology or exposure, but the overall status for this disease is unknown in this population (n=259). Knowledge of dissimilar serologic status without a population context presents concerns for medical recommendations and complicates their management.

As of January 2013, this population was distributed across 35 institutions. For the preliminary assessment, two institutions with established current serologic status for hepatitis B virus were identified as negative (n=7) and positive (n=15) by both core antibody and antigen (VRL Laboratories, San Antonio, TX, USA).2,3 Two additional collections of unknown serologic status (n=6 and n=12) were analyzed from banked serum collected from 2008–2013, for analysis of 15% (n=40) of the target population. Signalment, origin, current health status, history of liver disease, and hepatitis B vaccination history were obtained for each animal.

This data was developed into a population-wide directive for hepatitis B virus to provide context for individual collections to develop management strategies in situations of variable status and vaccination recommendation, and determine treatment options.7 Additionally, SSP© coordinators will use the analysis to make informed transfer recommendations, breeding plans, and determination of blood donors.5

Literature Cited

1.  Garber, J., and D. Pratt. 2013. Acute and chronic viral hepatitis. In: Bope ET and RD Kellerman (eds.). Conns’ Current Therapy. 2013, Elsevier, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pp: 485–488.

2.  Heathcote, J., P.H. Gateau, and S. Sherlock. 1974. Role of hepatitis-B antigen carriers in non- parenteral transmission of hepatitis-B virus. Lancet. 304(7877):370–2.

3.  Lok, A.S.F. 2011. Serologic diagnosis of hepatitis B virus infection. In: Esteban R, and PAL Bonis (editors),, accessed 9 January 2013.

4.  Lok, A.S.F. 2012. Clinical manifestations and natural history of hepatitis B virus infection. In: Esteban R, and PAL Bonis (editors),, accessed 9 January 2013.

5.  Teo, E-K., and A.S.F. Lok. 2012. Hepatitis B virus vaccination. In: Esteban R, and PAL Bonis (editors),, accessed 9 January 2013.

6.  Voevodin, A.F., and P.A. Marx. 2009. Hepadnaviruses. In: Simian Virology. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, Iowa. Pp: 397–405.

7.  Zuckerman, A.J., A. Thornton, C.R. Howard, K.N. Tsiquaye, D.M. Jones, and M.R. Brambell. 1978. Hepatitis B outbreak among chimpanzees at the London Zoo. The Lancet. 2(8091):652–4.


Speaker Information
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Laura Cummins Meals, DVM
Lincoln Park Zoo
Dana Point, CA, USA

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