Distribution and prevalence of malaria parasites among long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in regional populations across Southeast Asia


Background: Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium cynomolgi are two malaria parasites naturally transmissible between humans and wild macaque through mosquito vectors, while Plasmodium inui can be experimentally trans‐ mitted from macaques to humans. One of their major natural hosts, the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), is host to two other species of Plasmodium (Plasmodium fieldi and Plasmodium coatneyi) and is widely distributed in Southeast Asia. This study aims to determine the distribution of wild macaques infected with malarial parasites by examining samples derived from seven populations in five countries across Southeast Asia. Methods: Plasmodium knowlesi, P. cynomolgi, P. coatneyi, P. inui and P. fieldi, were detected using nested PCR assays in DNA samples from 276 wild-caught long-tailed macaques. These samples had been derived from macaques captured at seven locations, two each in the Philippines (n = 68) and Indonesia (n = 70), and one each in Cambodia (n = 54), Singapore (n = 40) and Laos (n = 44). The results were compared with previous studies of malaria parasites in long- tailed macaques from other locations in Southeast Asia. Fisher exact test and Chi square test were used to examine the geographic bias of the distribution of Plasmodium species in the  macaque populations. Results: Out of 276 samples tested, 177 were Plasmodium-positive, with P. cynomolgi being the most common and widely distributed among all long-tailed macaque populations (53.3 %) and occurring in all populations examined, followed by P. coatneyi (20.4 %), P. inui (12.3 %), P. fieldi (3.4 %) and P. knowlesi (0.4 %). One P. knowlesi infection was detected in a macaque from Laos, representing the first documented case of P. knowlesi in wildlife in Laos. Chi square test showed three of the five parasites (P. knowlesi, P. coatneyi, P. cynomolgi) with significant bias in prevalence towards macaques from Malaysian Borneo, Cambodia, and Southern Sumatra, respectively. Conclusions: The prevalence of malaria parasites, including those that are transmissible to humans, varied among all sampled regional populations of long-tailed macaques in Southeast Asia. The new discovery of P. knowlesi infection in Laos, and the high prevalence of P. cynomolgi infections in wild macaques in general, indicate the strong need of public advocacy in related countries. Keywords: Plasmodium knowlesi, Plasmodium cynomolgi, Macaca fascicularis, Geographic distribution, Biased infection rate Read full article here: 2016_malaria-article

Authors “Xinjun Zhang1 , Khamisah Abdul Kadir2 , Leslie Fabiola Quintanilla‑Zariñan1 , Jason Villano3 , Paul Houghton4 , Hongli Du5 , Balbir Singh2* and David Glenn Smith1*”

Genetic Testing for Non-human Primates

The Kanthaswamy DNA Laboratory (KDL) at Arizona State University in collaboration with Primate Products, Inc. (PPI) is pleased to announce our new Genetic Testing Program. Working with state of the art technology, including Next Generation Sequencing platforms, the following genetic testing services are now currently being offered:

ABO Blood Phenotyping

Knowledge of the ABO blood type is used for metabolism studies and stem cell research as well as for recipient matching in blood transfusion and tissue/organ transplantation studies.


Primate breeders today have a limited male to female ratio. Juvenile growing groups are usually formed from related cohorts. Including related animals in a trial can bias the study’s results. This test estimates the relatedness/kinship between any one animal and any number of other animals. This is particularly of interest for multiple or specific import groups coming from one breeder. This test compares any single animal to all other animals in an import group multiple import groups of animals up to first cousin, or 1/8 relatedness.

Regional Origin and Ancestry

Animals of different ancestry and geographic regions can have genetic differences. These differences can cause varying responses to experimental factors and can confound study results. This test determines the geographic origin of the animals in question.


Animals may have admixed ancestry because they were derived from hybrid zones. For example, rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomogus macaques (M. fascicularis) individuals originating from Indochina may exhibit varying degrees of rhesus and cynomolgus heritage because of hybridization between these species. Our test estimates the percentage of genome that is attributable to each species.


By Thomas J. Rowell

hendryOn July, 8th, 2016, Circuit Court Judge James D. Sloan released his ruling that there was no violation of the Florida Sunshine Law and found for the defendant, Hendry County, in an action lawsuit, which was filed in November of 2013 and amended in May of 2015.  Neighbors of a newly proposed facility on the Lee County border brought a lawsuit against the county alleging that because it never held hearings or told them about a primate facility being built in their neighborhood the county violated Florida's Sunshine Law. In November of 2013, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), on behalf of three Hendry County residents filed a lawsuit against Hendry County alleging Hendry County violated Florida Statutes 286.011(1) commonly referred to as the Florida Sunshine Law.  In their complaint they stated that a new nonhuman primate facility, which is proposed to be located in the northeast section of the County would “confine, quarantine, and breed thousands of wild and imported non-human primates (macaques) in a rural residential neighborhood”.   They further stated that “unlike domestic livestock, non-human primates are known carriers of a wide array of serious infectious diseases such as Ebola, Herpes B, tuberculosis, and parasites that may be transmitted to humans” in their complaint.  They sought to declare that Hendry County’s approval of the new facilities was void because it was not considered at a public hearing after adequate public notice, to have the courts issue an injunction mandating Hendry County to rescind its approval of the new facility permits, and to issue an injunction prohibiting Hendry County from approving future wild nonhuman primate facilities in general agriculture zoning without first conducting a public hearing. In May of 2015, the lawsuit was expanded to include a second company which entered into a contract with Primate Products Inc. (PPI) and resides on property owned by Panther Tracks LLC, which is also home for the PPI operation that has been in business for over 15 years at that location.  None of the three residents for which the suit had been filed on behalf of lived in close proximity of Panther Tracks (they were over 30 miles away in the far northeast section of the county) and one of the three residents had only purchased property in July of 2013, after building permits had been issued for the expansion at Panther Tracks LLC. Judge Sloan considered the following two points in his ruling:
  • Did actions taken by Hendry County violate the Florida Sunshine Law?
  • If not, had Hendry County violated the purpose and intent of the Sunshine Law by assigning or abdicating policy making function to staff?
In his legal reasoning he stated that no county commissioner, either alone or in tandem with any other commissioner attended any meetings, consulted or communicated with each other, or with either the new facility or Panther Tracks during any portion of the process approving either site development plans; therefore, nobody had engaged in a policy-making function, which may have required public meetings. In the ruling both parties had to concede that there was no definition for “animal husbandry” specifically set forth in Hendry County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan nor in its Zoning Code; however, given the historical application as it was applied to other site development plans of a similar nature such intent could be concluded.  In addition, it was presented as evidence that in April of 2000 raising of monkeys was specifically authorized in writing in agriculture 2 zones by the late Eason Burchard, the Director of Hendry County Building and Zoning.  As noted in the ruling and presented as testimony in the trial, Hendry County has in the past permitted buffalo, turtles, alligators, tilapia and ostriches in agriculture zones. Primate Products Inc. is pleased with Judge Sloan’s ruling and is appreciative of the work performed by Hendry County staff.  Although PPI has encountered no problems in over 15 years with property owners who live and work adjacent to their site, the conflict between residential developments located within agricultural zones is not new. When an animal operation is in close proximity to residential development, complaints and problems can occur. We reiterate that there is no better place to find the knowledge of support agencies, mindset of workers, and community understanding of farming and livestock production and maintenance than in Hendry County Florida.  They have demonstrated once again that they stand by the agricultural life style and the rights provided to property owners as stated in their comprehensive plan and land development code. Judge Sloan's Ruling

Pine Cones: Natural, Destructible Enrichment Opportunities for NHPs

By Stefanie Nelsen

It is our responsibility and obligation to provide an environmental enhancement program that promotes for excellent animal welfare, specifically aimed at improving the psychological well-being of any nonhuman primate (NHP) in our care. We can accomplish this through appropriate behavioral observations, teaching our animals to be willing workers that cooperate with our human staff, and providing species specific and age appropriate enrichment opportunities that are biologically significant to the animals that we are enriching. This is done by focusing upon the 5 categories of enrichment: Social, Occupational, Structural, Sensory, and Nutritional.pinecone1 Pine cones fall under the occupational and sensory categories of enrichment. They are a natural item that the NHPs can touch, smell, look at, and even destroy. They encourage fine motor movements, such as foraging, which allows for the animal to exhibit species typical and appropriate behaviors.

pinecone2Pine cones can also be elevated in many ways, for example:
  •  Scent Enhanced (e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, cilantro etc.)
  • Peanut Butter and More (e.g. add seeds, nuts, raisins etc.)
  • Color Enhanced (e.g. spray on color frosting)
  • Frozen (e.g. water and nuts or raisins, applesauce etc.)

For any questions on pine cones and/or suggestions on how to utilize a pine cone, please email

Zika Virus PPI Press Release


  To:      Media Contacts From:  Thomas J. Rowell DVM, President/COO Date:    12 February 2016 Re:       Zika Virus Recently the World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern” over the Zika virus and the health problems that doctors fear it’s causing. The agency said the emergency is warranted because of how fast the mosquito-borne virus is spreading and its suspected link to babies born with birth defects. The Florida health department has identified 18 Zika virus cases statewide, all which have been related to travel.  Florida health officials have yet to identify a single case related to vector (mosquito) transmission. As a result of reports that the vertebrate hosts of the virus is monkeys, with an enzootic mosquito- monkey-mosquito cycle, questions have arisen regarding the housing and importation of non-human primates and the potential exposure risk to the public. Primates imported into the United States undergo a mandatory 31-day quarantine after importation. This quarantine is done in an enclosed building or in a screened enclosure that keeps the animals away from mosquitoes. People working with the imported primates must wear personal protective equipment that includes coveralls, eye protection, and respiratory protection. Based on the research available, any animal that enters quarantine with a Zika virus infection or is exposed to Zika virus should have cleared the infection by the end of the quarantine period. Therefore, there should be no risk of infecting local mosquito populations from imported animals. It is also important to note that if Zika virus was spreading in people in areas where primates are housed outdoors, the animals could be infected with the virus. In this case organizations with outdoor housing would work with state and local authorities to develop a mosquito surveillance and management program at the facility to prevent the possible spread of Zika virus. Research utilizing primates and other animal models will be necessary for defining and understanding the pathogenesis of the virus, for establishing better diagnostics for detecting infection, and in vaccine development for disease prevention.  Primate Products Inc. will continue to provide critical resources that contributes to this and other research aimed at improving upon human health.

ABO Blood Phenotyping Services for Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and Cynomolgus (Macaca fascucularis) Macaques

Primate Products, Inc., in collaboration with the Kanthaswamy DNA Laboratory at the Arizona State University and the Molecular Anthropology Laboratory at the UC Davis, is proud to announce our DNA-based ABO blood phenotyping service for rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. The increasingly frequent use of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques, which commonly exhibit the A, B and AB blood group phenotypes, as subjects in studies involving transplantation requires that blood and other tissue antigens of donors and recipients be ABO compatible. Our ABO blood phenotype screening service relates to researchers’ ability to avoid fatal immunological reactions during blood transfusion and tissue transplantation experiments with these species. Knowledge of the ABO blood phenotypes can also help exclude or minimize variables during research that can negatively influence results during these types of experimental studies. We developed a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method based on DNA sequence-specific priming (SSP) to accurately determine the ABO blood group phenotypes of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques by identifying mutations responsible for the A and B antigens. The O phenotype, while potentially useful as a universal donor, is moot for transplantation research in macaques owing to its rarity in macaques and the recessive condition of the O allele in heterozygotes. Our report to you identifies the A, B or AB blood group phenotype of each animal whose whole blood, buffy coat or DNA sample you send us. For inquiries on sample submission and explanation of the results please contact Heather Gengo at PPI ( ).

Update from Primate Products, Inc.

By Thomas J. Rowell In recent months, the media has been focused on two events surrounding Primate Products Inc. (PPI) operation in Southwest Florida, which were both initiated by animal activists.  A recent article in Bloomberg Business Week does an excellent job in providing an overview (Bloomberg).  More specifically, one event involved a Hendry County investigation into zoning issues as it relates to land use. The second event was an investigation by the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which was initiated as the result of an activist plant who was hired as an animal caretaker in September of 2014. Hendry County initiated an investigation (Complaint No 14-0240) in March of 2015 of possible violations of the Land Development Codes at PPI and another primate facility located within the county.  Specifically there were concerns regarding PPI using land inconsistent with current zoning.  PPI responded to the complaint in April of 2015 (Response to complaint).  In addition a site visit was performed by the County in May. On August 19, 2015 the County officially finalized their investigation. They concluded, based on observations made at the site inspection and information obtained by regulatory authorities and others, that the activities occurring on the property occupied by PPI were in compliance with Hendry County’s land use regulations (PR - Hendry County Concludes Investigations). Primate Products Inc. is appreciative of the work performed by Hendry County staff.  We reiterate that there is no better place to find the knowledge of support agencies, mindset of workers, and community understanding of farming and livestock production and maintenance than in Hendry County Florida. The investigation started by OLAW in June of 2015, which was initiated as the result of an activist plant hired as an animal caretaker, who spent 8 months on site covertly obtaining video and pictures of the operation, has recently come to an end (OLAW Report). OLAW, working with PPI’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and staff, were able to identify strengths and at the same time uncovered some weaknesses in the animal welfare program, which were corrected. Over a period of several weeks, PPI and OLAW maintained an open dialog regarding PPI’s animal welfare program, which culminated into a joint site visit by OLAW and the USDA in August of 2015.  As a result of the visit and the ongoing dialog, OLAW concluded the following: “Based on its assessment of PPl's corrective actions, review of the supporting documents, and the information gathered during the site visit, OLAW found PPI fully compliant with the provisions of the PHS Policy and the Guide.” The results of the USDA investigation are still pending.  PPI is appreciative of the time and effort that OLAW staff put into the process, and feel that this experience has resulted in a much stronger animal welfare program.  

Hendry County Florida: An Ideal Environment for Nonhuman Primates

By: Thomas J. Rowell

Hendry County, located in Southwest Florida, has made news headlines in the last few weeks highlighting the construction of primate facilities in the county. Although Primate Products, Inc. (PPI) has been established in the area for over 15 years these new efforts have gained more than their share of attention from animal activists, both local and from outside the State of Florida (see links at end of article).  Much of the attention is directed to the number of primate facilities that have taken up residence in the county.  News stories have reported that “the county seat of LaBelle only has around 4,600 residents, meaning that the number of monkeys in the area could soon overtake the number of residents” and some local residents have expressed concern in the County’s methods of approving these new projects. hendry1PPI has operated Panther Tracks Learning Center, located approximately 22 miles southeast of Immokalee, FL and approximately 120 miles west-northwest of Miami, FL (at the northern edge of the Big Cypress Reserve) for over 15 years.  The reasons PPI, and we assume other enterprises involved in breeding and housing nonhuman primates in this area, selected Hendry County as the site for our facility is based on three critical criteria:
  • First and foremost, the weather.  The tropical savanna climate of Southwest Florida below the frost line is the only place in the continental US with the natural environment that is most similar to where our purpose bred monkeys originate.
  • Secondly, the agriculture mindset of the labor base.  No one has to explain to someone with a farm background that animals require care and support every day and are thus a 24/7/365 commitment.
  • Thirdly, the knowledge base of environmental and regulatory agencies in farm communities is second to none.  Their understanding of animal needs and farm construction requirements to meet the needs of animals and health issues for both humans and animals and thus their contribution to the location, design and construction of housing and support areas was vital and welcomed.
In early 2000 PPI was solicited and encouraged to open the operation in Hendry County by the Hendry County Economic Development Council.  During the review process, in front of the County Board of Supervisors, there were concerns expressed by some animal activist groups from outside of the county.  At open meetings many members of the Hendry County Cattleman’s Association and local farmers and business owners appeared in support the project.  Ultimately it was approved, and for the last 15 years we have worked closely with the county and the local community of which we have been welcomed into and have their full support.  We promote the interest of our county and local region through both our employment practices and by insuring we buy products and services from our local businesses whenever possible. Throughout the entire process the various public agencies (Agricultural Extension Office, Hendry County Planning and Zoning Agency, etc. along with State regulatory agencies including the South Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) contributed their knowledge to help us meet the rigid requirements required by the State of Florida. hendry2There is simply no better place to find the knowledge of support agencies, mindset of workers, and community understanding of farming and livestock production and maintenance than in Hendry County Florida. Hendry County and the community have been very supportive of PPI’s mission for over 15 years.  We draw our employment and bias our business to support the community, and we’ve always been very open with our practices and very appreciative of community support.

Donald A. Bradford, We Wish You Well!

don_bradford It is always bittersweet when a friend and colleague reaches retirement.  On one hand, you are sad that what was, will not be, going forward.  On the other, you are happy and excited for your friend who will be starting a new chapter with perhaps a new adventure or two with their remaining years.  It has been my sincere honor and very great pleasure to have spent the last 23 years working with Don here at Primate Products and although as a family member we know he will never be very far away, beginning June 1st, Don will begin his long postponed retirement.  Postponed I might add primarily by myself pleading with him to finish just one more project, show, situation or whatever fire needed immediate attention over the last several years. I am including a copy of part of the nomination letter for Don’s Garvey Award which he received in 2011.  Although lengthy I think it is a fitting tribute to a life dedicated to the improvement and advancement or our industry. We all wish him the very best of luck and success in whatever lies ahead. Sincerely, Paul W. Houghton 1969 – 1974    UCLA- Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, CA Don rose through the ranks to eventually become the General Supervisor.  He became active in the Southern California Branch of AALAS serving on its Board of Trustees and on its Technician Training Committee working with Bob Watkins.  His work performance, contributions and leadership in training efforts were recognized by the branch when it honored Don with its “Outstanding Technician Award” in 1971.  Until his departure in late 1974, Don oversaw extensive renovation of the facilities and planning for new facilities at Harbor General and laid the ground work for the eventual AAALAC accreditation of the program. 1975 – 1988    University of Iowa’s Animal Care Unit (ACU) in Iowa City, IA Don began as the Husbandry Section Head for the Bowen Science Building.  Don rapidly assumed greater responsibilities and became the Coordinator of Animal Husbandry in 1977.  Together with the Director and University Veterinarian, Dr. Paul Cooper, went on to lay out the complete rebuilding of the facilities and programs.  Again, the foundation of the rebuilding was the training of the husbandry and veterinary technical staffs.  An interesting side note regarding the training program that Don put in place is that the institution did not recognize the need for nor did it provide facilities for such a program.  So Don conducted “brown bag lunches” in the washroom of the Bowen Science Building, with the staff volunteering to eat their lunch right where the cages were washed. In just two short years, those training efforts resulted in the program going from a situation of having only one (Don) staff member (of 30 people) certified at any level to having over half the staff certified at the Technologist level and all but two certified at other levels. Throughout his tenure at the University of Iowa, Don was active in both the Iowa Branch of AALAS and national AALAS.  He served on the AALAS Board of Trustees representing District VI, serving on the AALAS Animal Technician Certification Board (ATCB), presented workshops on a variety of topics ranging from Cost Accounting in Laboratory Facilities, to the Dynamics of Group Motivation, he presented numerous papers at the local, district and national AALAS meetings, presented workshops at the local community college, consulted to the local animal shelter and to a local company manufacturing animal housing systems and served on the AALAS ATCB. He was honored by the Iowa Branch AALAS with its “Outstanding Supervisor” award in 1979 and its highest honor the “Dr. Ronald E. Flatt Memorial Award” in 1988.  He also obtained his BBA/MIS degree from the University of Iowa in 1988. 1988- 1992      University of Miami, Division of Veterinary Resources, Miami, FL Don moved on to the University of Miami in December 1988 where he assumed the position of Assistant to the Director.  His efforts in training of others continued there and within the Florida Branch of AALAS, where he served on the board of Trustees for 8 years.  The training program at the UM became the favored training program of the VA system in Miami, Childrens Hospital in Miami and Baxter, Inc. in Miami, with attendees coming from all over south Florida to obtain their certification through the program lead by Don. 1992 – Present Primate Products, Inc.  (PPI) Immokalee, FL Don began his career on the commercial side of the laboratory animal science industry when he began his own company (RepOne) providing sales representation for up to 11 different vendors serving the biomedical research community.  One of those companies was Primate Products, Inc. (PPI). Don joined PPI full time as the Director of PPI’s proposed Live Animal Division, which began business in late 1994.  As the Director, Don established the SOPs, again wore his training hat overseeing the training program of PPI’s husbandry and veterinary technical staffs.  He developed the software system used by PPI until the summer of 2010 and co-developed its replacement (ENOS) which is now commercially available.  He continued his service to national AALAS serving on the Distance Learning Committee and the Exhibitor Advisory Council.  He served the commercial members of AALAS serving on several committees and as the ATA President in 2007 and 2008.  He also has continued to present papers and participate in roundtable platforms at district and national meetings of AALAS and LAMA. One of Don’s most important contributions to the research community is his role in helping PPI develop its Panther tracks Learning Center and the conducting of (Primadaption) workshops, which center on the development of improved and successful programs of providing enrichment and care to captive nonhuman primates.  These workshops are open to the biomedical research community and are attended by personnel ranging from veterinarians, veterinary and husbandry technicians, investigators, supervisory and behavioral staff. This program has received excellent reviews from its attendees. Don’s leadership at PPI has contributed to our continuing growth in business and our continuing dedication to our corporate mission to provide products, services and training to enhance the conservation and care of nonhuman primates.

Primate Products, Inc. exhibiting at the 54th SOT annual meeting in San Diego, CA, March 22-26, 2015

We will be once again present at the 2015 meeting of the Society of Toxicology at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. We will be at booth # 745. Locate us on the SOT's interactive map: PPI Booth #745 at SOT 2015   To learn more about our Animal Welfare Program, products and services, please call us at 855-PPI-LABS [855-774-5227] or click this link to arrange a meeting with us: Schedule an SOT meeting The SOT Annual Meeting provides the most complete and in-depth coverage of toxicology. The meeting is the venue for toxicologists to learn about the scientific advances that have taken place over the past 12 months. The Scientific Program Committee has devised a thematic program that encompasses five themes of topical interest. This year, these themes are:
  • Advancing Clinical and Translational Toxicology
  • Approaches for Protecting Vulnerable Populations
  • Epigenomic Influences in Toxicological Responses
  • Safety Assessment Approaches for Product Development
  • Strategies for Exposure and Risk Assessments
With more than 6,500 toxicologists from more than 50 countries in attendance, this five-day event allows everyone the opportunity to network with colleagues and leading scientists from around the world.