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Management of hepatitis B virus infections in two gibbons and a western lowland gorilla in a zoological collection
  1. S. M. Thornton, BSc, BVetMed, MRCVS1,
  2. S. Walker, BSc, MSc2 and
  3. J. N. Zuckerman, MBBS, MD, CBiol, MIBiol2
  1. 1 Veterinary Science Unit, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London NW1 7TX
  2. 2 Academic Centre for Travel Medicines and Vaccines, and WHO Reference Centre for Viral Disease, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF
  1. International Zoo Veterinary Group, Keighley Business Centre, South Street, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD21 IAG


Since 1996, three primates newly arrived at London Zoo have been found to be infected with hepatitis B virus. The species involved were white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys leucogenys and Hylobates leucogenys siki) and a western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). The protocols for the practical management of these cases, including the immunisation of susceptible non-human primates and the staff with recombinant hepatitis B vaccine are described, and the origin and evolution of hepatitis B infection in primates are discussed.

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