Surveillance of Wildlife Diseases: Lessons from the West Nile Virus Outbreak
The West Nile virus outbreak of 1999 revealed many weaknesses in this country's ability to respond to disease threats that cross species lines. There were issues of poor communication among human, domestic animal, and wildlife health agencies that delayed diagnosis; a lack of diagnostic capacity of wildlife agencies at the state level; the exclusion of captive wildlife from any surveillance efforts; an inability to visualize the geospatial relationship between the human and avian outbreaks in a timely manner; and marked disparities of funding levels across agencies. Wildlife has played an important role in recent emerging infectious diseases, and it is clear that a One Health approach will be necessary to respond to future threats. The question is, are we any better prepared to recognize and respond to a wildlife-related emerging infectious disease than we were 14 years ago? Have the lessons of WNV been learned?
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