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      Urbanization and Disease Emergence: Dynamics at the Wildlife–Livestock–Human Interface

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          Urbanization is characterized by rapid intensification of agriculture, socioeconomic change, and ecological fragmentation, which can have profound impacts on the epidemiology of infectious disease. Here, we review current scientific evidence for the drivers and epidemiology of emerging wildlife-borne zoonoses in urban landscapes, where anthropogenic pressures can create diverse wildlife–livestock–human interfaces. We argue that these interfaces represent a critical point for cross-species transmission and emergence of pathogens into new host populations, and thus understanding their form and function is necessary to identify suitable interventions to mitigate the risk of disease emergence. To achieve this, interfaces must be studied as complex, multihost communities whose structure and form are dictated by both ecological and anthropological factors.


          Urbanization can create diverse wildlife–livestock–human interfaces.

          Interfaces represent a critical point for cross-species transmission and emergence of pathogens.

          Interfaces should be studied as complex, multihost communities.

          Molecular epidemiology can add real-world complexity to the study of disease emergence.

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          Most cited references 104

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          Global trends in emerging infectious diseases

          The next new disease Emerging infectious diseases are a major threat to health: AIDS, SARS, drug-resistant bacteria and Ebola virus are among the more recent examples. By identifying emerging disease 'hotspots', the thinking goes, it should be possible to spot health risks at an early stage and prepare containment strategies. An analysis of over 300 examples of disease emerging between 1940 and 2004 suggests that these hotspots can be accurately mapped based on socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors. The data show that the surveillance effort, and much current research spending, is concentrated in developed economies, yet the risk maps point to developing countries as the more likely source of new diseases. Supplementary information The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/nature06536) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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            Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife--threats to biodiversity and human health.

            Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) of free-living wild animals can be classified into three major groups on the basis of key epizootiological criteria: (i) EIDs associated with "spill-over" from domestic animals to wildlife populations living in proximity; (ii) EIDs related directly to human intervention, via host or parasite translocations; and (iii) EIDs with no overt human or domestic animal involvement. These phenomena have two major biological implications: first, many wildlife species are reservoirs of pathogens that threaten domestic animal and human health; second, wildlife EIDs pose a substantial threat to the conservation of global biodiversity.
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              The merging of community ecology and phylogenetic biology.

              The increasing availability of phylogenetic data, computing power and informatics tools has facilitated a rapid expansion of studies that apply phylogenetic data and methods to community ecology. Several key areas are reviewed in which phylogenetic information helps to resolve long-standing controversies in community ecology, challenges previous assumptions, and opens new areas of investigation. In particular, studies in phylogenetic community ecology have helped to reveal the multitude of processes driving community assembly and have demonstrated the importance of evolution in the assembly process. Phylogenetic approaches have also increased understanding of the consequences of community interactions for speciation, adaptation and extinction. Finally, phylogenetic community structure and composition holds promise for predicting ecosystem processes and impacts of global change. Major challenges to advancing these areas remain. In particular, determining the extent to which ecologically relevant traits are phylogenetically conserved or convergent, and over what temporal scale, is critical to understanding the causes of community phylogenetic structure and its evolutionary and ecosystem consequences. Harnessing phylogenetic information to understand and forecast changes in diversity and dynamics of communities is a critical step in managing and restoring the Earth's biota in a time of rapid global change.

                Author and article information

                Trends Ecol Evol
                Trends Ecol. Evol. (Amst.)
                Trends in Ecology & Evolution
                Elsevier Science Publishers
                1 January 2017
                January 2017
                : 32
                : 1
                : 55-67
                [1 ]Institute of Infection and Global Health, The University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Neston, CH64 7TE, UK
                [2 ]International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
                [3 ]Institute of Integrative Biology, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK
                [4 ]Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
                Author notes
                © 2016 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (



                interface, urbanization, wildlife, disease emergence


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