The suitability of East African primates as animal models of visceral leishmaniasis.
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The susceptibility of four East African primate species to experimental infection with Leishmania donovani was investigated. Vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops), Sykes monkeys (C. mitis) and baboons (Papio cynocephalus) all supported low grade infections for periods ranging between four and eight months and subsequently showed evidence of self-cure. Greater bushbabies (Galago crassicaudatus) remained completely refractory throughout the course of the experiment. The significance of hepatic histiocytic nodules in the infected primates, similar to those observed in asymptomatic human visceral leishmaniasis, and the susceptibility of Old World primates to experimental infection are discussed.