The wild side of disease control at the wildlife-livestock-human interface: a review

The control of diseases shared with wildlife requires the development of strategies that will reduce pathogen transmission between wildlife and both domestic animals and human beings. This review describes and criticizes the options currently applied and attempts to forecast wildlife disease control in the coming decades. Establishing a proper surveillance and monitoring scheme (disease and population wise) is the absolute priority before even making the decision as to whether or not to intervene.

Disease control can be achieved by different means, including: (1) preventive actions, (2) arthropod vector control, (3) host population control through random or selective culling, habitat management or reproductive control, and (4) vaccination. The alternative options of zoning or no-action should also be considered, particularly in view of a cost/benefit assessment. Ideally, tools from several fields should be combined in an integrated control strategy.

The success of disease control in wildlife depends on many factors, including disease ecology, natural history, and the characteristics of the pathogen, the availability of suitable diagnostic tools, the characteristics of the domestic and wildlife host(s) and vectors, the geographical spread of the problem, the scale of the control effort and stakeholders’ attitudes.

Authors: Christian Gortazar, Iratxe Diez-Delgado, Jose Angel Barasona, Joaquin Vicente, Jose De La Fuente and Mariana Boadella

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