They are according to research findings in Current Biology.
Eco-tourists and researchers are inadvertently killing the same wild chimpanzees they are aiming to protect, by giving them colds.
These new findings, released in Current Biology, confirms what has long been suspected, that in getting ‘up close’ with gorillas and chimpanzees, humans are close enough to spread respiratory viruses. Up to half the apes in ‘habituated’ groups have died after showing respiratory symptoms.
It is thought that fatalities are caused by the bacterial infections that accompany the viruses. When zoo chimps get these viruses, they also get antibiotics to kill bacteria.