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The Human-Animal Interface

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  • Authors: Leslie A. Reperant1, Albert D. M. E. Osterhaus2
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Centre, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; 2: Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Centre, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands; 3: Artemis Research Institute for Wildlife Health in Europe, 3584 CK Utrecht, The Netherlands; 4: University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
  • Source: microbiolspec October 2013 vol. 1 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012
  • Received 23 November 2012 Accepted 08 January 2013 Published 31 October 2013
  • Albert D. M. E. Osterhaus, a.osterhaus@erasmusmc.nl
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  • Abstract:

    The human-animal interface is as ancient as the first bipedal steps taken by humans. Born with the human species, it has grown and expanded with the human species' prehistoric and historical development to reach the unprecedented scope of current times. Several facets define the human-animal interface, guiding the scope and range of human interactions with animal species. These facets have not ceased to evolve and expand since their emergence, all the more favoring disease emergence. Placing the human-animal interface in its historical perspective allows us to realize its versatile and dynamic nature. Changes in the scope and range of domestication, agriculture, urbanization, colonization, trade, and industrialization have been accompanied by evolving risks for cross-species transmission of pathogens. Because these risks are unlikely to decrease, improving our technologies to identify and monitor pathogenic threats lurking at the human-animal interface should be a priority.

  • Citation: Reperant L, M. E. Osterhaus A. 2013. The Human-Animal Interface. Microbiol Spectrum 1(1):OH-0013-2012. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012.

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2013-10-31
2017-05-24

Abstract:

The human-animal interface is as ancient as the first bipedal steps taken by humans. Born with the human species, it has grown and expanded with the human species' prehistoric and historical development to reach the unprecedented scope of current times. Several facets define the human-animal interface, guiding the scope and range of human interactions with animal species. These facets have not ceased to evolve and expand since their emergence, all the more favoring disease emergence. Placing the human-animal interface in its historical perspective allows us to realize its versatile and dynamic nature. Changes in the scope and range of domestication, agriculture, urbanization, colonization, trade, and industrialization have been accompanied by evolving risks for cross-species transmission of pathogens. Because these risks are unlikely to decrease, improving our technologies to identify and monitor pathogenic threats lurking at the human-animal interface should be a priority.

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FIGURE 1

Schematic of the human-animal interface. The different facets of the human-animal interface include the evolutionary pathogen heritage of the human species and human demographics and behaviors associated with domestication, agriculture and food production, urbanization, worldwide migration, colonization and trade, and industrialization and globalization. These facets interact and expand as mankind continues to develop. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012.f1

Source: microbiolspec October 2013 vol. 1 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012
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FIGURE 2

Ancestral origins of human pathogens. Most pathogens capable of infecting the human species have originated from animal pathogens that crossed the species barrier, in particular across the domesticated human-animal interface. Human viruses belonging to 32 different genera have their ancestral origins in animal precursors and have adapted to efficiently transmit among humans (light pink), while viruses belonging to 37 different genera are zoonotic pathogens with no or limited ability to transmit among humans (dark pink). The remaining pathogens are heirloom pathogens that cospeciated with the human species. Of these, viruses belonging to 16 different genera were vertically transmitted from hominin ancestral species at the emergence of the Homo genus (dark blue), while viruses belonging to 6 different genera were vertically transmitted from related Homo spp. to the modern human Homo sapiens at the time of its emergence (light blue). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012.f2

Source: microbiolspec October 2013 vol. 1 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012
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FIGURE 3

Evidence of smallpox infection of Pharaoh Ramses V. Poxlike lesions reminiscent of smallpox pustules can be seen on the head of the 3,000-year-old mummy. Source: World Health Organization. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012.f3

Source: microbiolspec October 2013 vol. 1 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012
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FIGURE 4

Diversity of avian and swine influenza viruses. The annual productions of swine and poultry meat have dramatically increased since the 1960s (upper and lower panel, connected dots). Concurrently, the number of new influenza virus lineages in swine (upper panel, black bars) and the number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry (lower panel, black bars) have increased similarly since the discovery of the virus in pigs in the 1930s and in poultry in the 1950s. These increases in viral diversity have been accompanied by an increase in the number of swine and avian influenza virus subtypes or lineages that have caused infection in humans (upper and lower panels, gray bars). Modified from reference 75. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012.f4

Source: microbiolspec October 2013 vol. 1 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0013-2012
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