Global trends in infectious diseases at the wildlife–livestock interface

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
(Accessed 25 July 2015)

Global trends in infectious diseases at the wildlife–livestock interface
Anke K. Wiethoeltera, Daniel Beltrán-Alcrudob, Richard Kockc, and Siobhan M. Mora,d,1
Author Affiliations
Infectious diseases at the wildlife–livestock interface threaten the health and well-being of wildlife, livestock, and human populations, and contribute to significant economic losses to each sector. No studies have sought to characterize the diseases and animals involved on a global level. Using a scoping review framework we show that 10 diseases—mostly zoonoses—have accounted for half of the published research in this area over the past century. We show that relatively few interfaces can be considered important from a disease ecology perspective. These findings suggest that surveillance and research strategies that target specific wildlife–livestock interfaces may yield the greatest return in investment.
The role and significance of wildlife–livestock interfaces in disease ecology has largely been neglected, despite recent interest in animals as origins of emerging diseases in humans. Scoping review methods were applied to objectively assess the relative interest by the scientific community in infectious diseases at interfaces between wildlife and livestock, to characterize animal species and regions involved, as well as to identify trends over time. An extensive literature search combining wildlife, livestock, disease, and geographical search terms yielded 78,861 publications, of which 15,998 were included in the analysis. Publications dated from 1912 to 2013 and showed a continuous increasing trend, including a shift from parasitic to viral diseases over time. In particular there was a significant increase in publications on the artiodactyls–cattle and bird–poultry interface after 2002 and 2003, respectively. These trends could be traced to key disease events that stimulated public interest and research funding. Among the top 10 diseases identified by this review, the majority were zoonoses. Prominent wildlife–livestock interfaces resulted largely from interaction between phylogenetically closely related and/or sympatric species. The bird–poultry interface was the most frequently cited wildlife–livestock interface worldwide with other interfaces reflecting regional circumstances. This review provides the most comprehensive overview of research on infectious diseases at the wildlife–livestock interface to date.