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Emerging Infectious Diseases of Wildlife and Species Conservation

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  • Author: G. Medina-Vogel
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    Affiliations: 2: University of Louisville, Louisville, KY; 3: San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • Source: microbiolspec December 2013 vol. 1 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012
  • Received 09 December 2012 Accepted 15 December 2012 Published 13 December 2013
  • G. Medina-Vogel, gmedina@unab.cl
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  • Abstract:

    There has been an increase in the emergence and reemergence of human infectious diseases on a global scale, and zoonotic diseases in which wildlife serves as the reservoir are a large contributing factor. Faced with this situation, there is a necessity to create integrated prevention strategies and predictive models to determine the sites most vulnerable to the emergence of new zoonoses. Cases have been documented in which pathogens responsible for infectious diseases in wild species have been readily transmitted between hosts and have threatened vulnerable declining populations. Habitat destruction and man-made changes in the landscape together with the introduction of alien species are significant environmental variables that affect the ecology of infectious diseases. Thus, the loss of biodiversity is illustrated to be related to both the emergence of new or the exacerbation of existing vector-borne zoonotic diseases through mechanisms such as the loss of the dilution effect and ecological release and simplification. Hence, it is important to consider this factor when assessing disease risk and disease prevention in domestic animals and humans. Diseases like leptospirosis in which water plays an important role are ecosystem health diseases; in fact, the reported higher prevalence of spp. in river otters in southern Chile compared with species less adapted to aquatic environments and with terrestrial domestic carnivores provides evidence that man-made landscape alterations, including the introduction of alien species, has exacerbated the transmission and prevalence of leptospirosis in wildlife and thus the risk of human infection.

  • Citation: Medina-Vogel G. 2013. Emerging Infectious Diseases of Wildlife and Species Conservation. Microbiol Spectrum 1(2):OH-0004-2012. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012.

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/content/journal/microbiolspec/10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012
2013-12-13
2017-11-22

Abstract:

There has been an increase in the emergence and reemergence of human infectious diseases on a global scale, and zoonotic diseases in which wildlife serves as the reservoir are a large contributing factor. Faced with this situation, there is a necessity to create integrated prevention strategies and predictive models to determine the sites most vulnerable to the emergence of new zoonoses. Cases have been documented in which pathogens responsible for infectious diseases in wild species have been readily transmitted between hosts and have threatened vulnerable declining populations. Habitat destruction and man-made changes in the landscape together with the introduction of alien species are significant environmental variables that affect the ecology of infectious diseases. Thus, the loss of biodiversity is illustrated to be related to both the emergence of new or the exacerbation of existing vector-borne zoonotic diseases through mechanisms such as the loss of the dilution effect and ecological release and simplification. Hence, it is important to consider this factor when assessing disease risk and disease prevention in domestic animals and humans. Diseases like leptospirosis in which water plays an important role are ecosystem health diseases; in fact, the reported higher prevalence of spp. in river otters in southern Chile compared with species less adapted to aquatic environments and with terrestrial domestic carnivores provides evidence that man-made landscape alterations, including the introduction of alien species, has exacerbated the transmission and prevalence of leptospirosis in wildlife and thus the risk of human infection.

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FIGURE 1

Effect of habitat fragmentation on three different species populations (•, *, and 0). Species 0 is less competitive against species • and *, but became a reservoir of a pathogen highly virulent for species * and less virulent for species •. By apparent competition, species 0 displaced species * and began competing for resources with species •, which was highly specialized to the disappearing habitat conditions. Empty boxes represent areas with loss of habitat. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012.f1

Source: microbiolspec December 2013 vol. 1 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012
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FIGURE 2

Relationship between the degree of landscape transformation and human presence and the prevalence of Leptospira spp. in animals from the lake and river districts in southern Chile. Scale representing degree of forest clearing and human occupation: 1 (essentially no alterations) to 10 (high alteration and human presence). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012.f2

Source: microbiolspec December 2013 vol. 1 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0004-2012
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