Leprosy in a mangabey monkey--naturally acquired infection.Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1985 Mar; 53(1):1-14.IJ
Naturally acquired leprosy was detected in an otherwise normal "sooty" mangabey monkey (Cercocebus atys). This animal was imported from West Africa in 1975 and developed clinical symptoms of leprosy in 1979. Histopathologic findings were those of subpolar-lepromatous to borderline-lepromatous leprosy in the Ridley-Jopling classification. The disease was progressive, with crippling neuropathic deformities of the hands and feet. The disease regressed under specific therapy. The etiologic agent was identified as Mycobacterium leprae by the following criteria: invasion of nerves of host, staining properties, electron microscopic findings, noncultivable on mycobacteriologic media, DOPA-oxidase positive, lepromin reactivity, infection patterns in mice and armadillos, sensitivity to sulfone, and DNA homology. We believe the animal acquired the disease from a patient with active leprosy. The mangabey monkey offers promise as a primate model for leprosy, and adds a third reported species to animals with naturally acquired leprosy.