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Trends Parasitol. 2015 Apr;31(4):149-59. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Feb 20.

Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife: a critical perspective.

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Landcare Research, Private Bag 1930, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand. Electronic address:
School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Harbord St, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G5, Canada.
One Health Research Group, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.


We review the literature to distinguish reports of vertebrate wildlife disease emergence with sufficient evidence, enabling a robust assessment of emergence drivers. For potentially emerging agents that cannot be confirmed, sufficient data on prior absence (or a prior difference in disease dynamics) are frequently lacking. Improved surveillance, particularly for neglected host taxa, geographical regions and infectious agents, would enable more effective management should emergence occur. Exposure to domestic sources of infection and human-assisted exposure to wild sources were identified as the two main drivers of emergence across host taxa; the domestic source was primary for fish while the wild source was primary for other taxa. There was generally insufficient evidence for major roles of other hypothesized drivers of emergence.

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