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Training Manual on Wildlife Diseases and Surveillance
The majority of emerging human diseases in the past six decades have been zoonotic and
the predominant source of these zoonotic pathogens has been wild animals. Thus wild animal
pathogens have added major new burdens of disease to people and, although fewer data are
available, wild animals also have been important sources of diseases affecting domestic animals.
2. Disease emergence
Because emerging diseases now are so significant to animal and human health, it is
important to understand what drives the process of disease emergence.
‘Humanity faces many challenges that require global solutions. One of these challenges is
the spread of infectious diseases that emerge (or re-emerge) from the interfaces between
animals and humans and the ecosystems in which they live. This is a result of several trends,
including the exponential growth in human and livestock populations, rapid urbanisation,
rapidly changing farming systems, closer integration between livestock and wildlife, forest
encroachment, changes in ecosystems and globalisation of trade in animal and animal products.
The consequences of emerging infectious diseases (EID) can be catastrophic. For
example, estimates show that H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has already cost
over US$20 billion in economic losses. If it causes an influenza pandemic, it could cost the global
economy around US$2 trillion. Therefore, investments in preventive and control strategies are
likely to be highly cost-effective.’6
There have been many studies of disease emergence in the past two decades. The
findings of these studies are all very similar. The following list of risk factors for human and
animal disease emergence is taken from several of these studies.
From: One World, One Health: A Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal–
Human–Ecosystems Interface. A Consultation Document for the International Ministerial Conference on Avian and
Pandemic Influenza. OIE, WHO, FAO, UNICEF, UNSIC, World Bank. Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, October 25, 2008