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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2017 Aug;15(8):502-510. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2017.45. Epub 2017 May 30.

Pathways to zoonotic spillover.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717, USA.
2
Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.
3
Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia.
4
Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.
5
Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8034, USA.
6
Department of Ecology &Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.
7
Department of Ecology &Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-7239, USA; and at Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2220, USA.

Abstract

Zoonotic spillover, which is the transmission of a pathogen from a vertebrate animal to a human, presents a global public health burden but is a poorly understood phenomenon. Zoonotic spillover requires several factors to align, including the ecological, epidemiological and behavioural determinants of pathogen exposure, and the within-human factors that affect susceptibility to infection. In this Opinion article, we propose a synthetic framework for animal-to-human transmission that integrates the relevant mechanisms. This framework reveals that all zoonotic pathogens must overcome a hierarchical series of barriers to cause spillover infections in humans. Understanding how these barriers are functionally and quantitatively linked, and how they interact in space and time, will substantially improve our ability to predict or prevent spillover events. This work provides a foundation for transdisciplinary investigation of spillover and synthetic theory on zoonotic transmission.

PMID:
28555073
PMCID:
PMC5791534
DOI:
10.1038/nrmicro.2017.45
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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