Veterinary Record 150:12-15 doi:10.1136/vr.150.1.12
  • Papers & Articles

Scabies in free-ranging mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

  1. E. J. Macfie, DVM, MS3
  1. 1 Veterinary Unit, Uganda Wildlife Authority, PO Box 3530, Kampala, Uganda
  2. 2 Field Conservation and Consultancy Zoological Society of London, c/o OAU IBAR Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics, PO Box 30786, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. 3 International Gorilla Conservation Programme, PO Box 10950, Kampala, Uganda
  1. Environmental Medicine Consortium and Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA


Between August and December 1996, there was an outbreak of a debilitating skin disease attributed to Sarcoptes scabiei infection in mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. All four members of a gorilla group which had been habituated to tourists were clinically affected; the infant male gorilla was most severely affected and died, the juvenile male showed serious manifestations of the disease and the two adult animals showed milder signs. The three older animals recovered after a single intramuscular dose of ivermectin. S scabiei mites were observed on skin scrapings and biopsies taken while the juvenile was immobilised and in postmortem samples taken from the infant. The clinical signs did not recur during the following year, and no other gorilla groups in the park were observed to be clinically affected.

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