Conservation medicine and a new agenda for emerging diseases

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Impact of Ecological Changes on Tropical Animal Health and Disease Control
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The last three decades have seen an alarming number of high-profile outbreaks of new viruses and other pathogens, many of them emerging from wildlife. Recent outbreaks of SARS, avian influenza, and others highlight emerging zoonotic diseases as one of the key threats to global health. Similar emerging diseases have been reported in wildlife populations, resulting in mass mortalities, population declines, and even extinctions. In this paper, we highlight three examples of emerging pathogens: Nipah and Hendra virus, which emerged in Malaysia and Australia in the 1990s respectively, with recent outbreaks caused by similar viruses in India in 2000 and Bangladesh in 2004; West Nile virus, which emerged in the New World in 1999; and amphibian chytridiomycosis, which has emerged globally as a threat to amphibian populations and a major cause of amphibian population declines. We discuss a new, conservation medicine approach to emerging diseases that integrates veterinary, medical, ecologic, and other sciences in interdisciplinary teams. These teams investigate the causes of emergence, analyze the underlying drivers, and attempt to define common rules governing emergence for human, wildlife, and plant EIDs. The ultimate goal is a risk analysis that allows us to predict future emergence of known and unknown pathogens.


Bbo56Times Cited:15Cited References Count:82Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

DOI 10.1196/annals.1307.001