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      A meta‐analysis suggesting that the relationship between biodiversity and risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission is idiosyncratic

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          Abstract

          Zoonotic pathogens are significant burdens on global public health. Because they are transmitted to humans from non‐human animals, the transmission dynamics of zoonoses are necessarily influenced by the ecology of their animal hosts and vectors. The ‘dilution effect’ proposes that increased species diversity reduces disease risk, suggesting that conservation and public health initiatives can work synergistically to improve human health and wildlife biodiversity. However, the meta‐analysis that we present here indicates a weak and highly heterogeneous relationship between host biodiversity and disease. Our results suggest that disease risk is more likely a local phenomenon that relies on the specific composition of reservoir hosts and vectors, and their ecology, rather than patterns of species biodiversity.

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          Most cited references 41

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          The ecology of infectious disease: effects of host diversity and community composition on Lyme disease risk.

          The extent to which the biodiversity and community composition of ecosystems affect their functions is an issue that grows ever more compelling as human impacts on ecosystems increase. We present evidence that supports a novel function of vertebrate biodiversity, the buffering of human risk of exposure to Lyme-disease-bearing ticks. We tested the Dilution Effect model, which predicts that high species diversity in the community of tick hosts reduces vector infection prevalence by diluting the effects of the most competent disease reservoir, the ubiquitous white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus). As habitats are degraded by fragmentation or other anthropogenic forces, some members of the host community disappear. Thus, species-poor communities tend to have mice, but few other hosts, whereas species-rich communities have mice, plus many other potential hosts. We demonstrate that the most common nonmouse hosts are relatively poor reservoirs for the Lyme spirochete and should reduce the prevalence of the disease by feeding, but rarely infecting, ticks. By accounting for nearly every host species' contribution to the number of larval ticks fed and infected, we show that as new host species are added to a depauperate community, the nymphal infection prevalence, a key risk factor, declines. We identify important "dilution hosts" (e.g., squirrels), characterized by high tick burdens, low reservoir competence, and high population density, as well as "rescue hosts" (e.g., shrews), which are capable of maintaining high disease risk when mouse density is low. Our study suggests that the preservation of vertebrate biodiversity and community composition can reduce the incidence of Lyme disease.
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            Meta-analysis: recent developments in quantitative methods for literature reviews.

            We describe the history and current status of the meta-analytic enterprise. The advantages and historical criticisms of meta-analysis are described, as are the basic steps in a meta-analysis and the role of effect sizes as chief coins of the meta-analytic realm. Advantages of the meta-analytic procedures include seeing the "landscape" of a research domain, keeping statistical significance in perspective, minimizing wasted data, becoming intimate with the data summarized, asking focused research questions, and finding moderator variables. Much of the criticism of meta-analysis has been based on simple misunderstanding of how meta-analyses are actually carried out. Criticisms of meta-analysis that are applicable are equally applicable to traditional, nonquantitative, narrative reviews of the literature. Much of the remainder of the chapter deals with the processes of effect size estimation, the understanding of the heterogeneity of the obtained effect sizes, and the practical and scientific importance of the effect sizes obtained.
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              Experimental Infection of North American Birds with the New York 1999 Strain of West Nile Virus

              To evaluate transmission dynamics, we exposed 25 bird species to West Nile virus (WNV) by infectious mosquito bite. We monitored viremia titers, clinical outcome, WNV shedding (cloacal and oral), seroconversion, virus persistence in organs, and susceptibility to oral and contact transmission. Passeriform and charadriiform birds were more reservoir competent (a derivation of viremia data) than other species tested. The five most competent species were passerines: Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), and House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Death occurred in eight species. Cloacal shedding of WNV was observed in 17 of 24 species, and oral shedding in 12 of 14 species. We observed contact transmission among four species and oral in five species. Persistent WNV infections were found in tissues of 16 surviving birds. Our observations shed light on transmission ecology of WNV and will benefit surveillance and control programs.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ecol Lett
                Ecol. Lett
                10.1111/(ISSN)1461-0248
                ELE
                Ecology Letters
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                1461-023X
                1461-0248
                11 March 2013
                May 2013
                : 16
                : 5 ( doiID: 10.1111/ele.2013.16.issue-5 )
                : 679-686
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Woods Institute for the Environment & Department of Anthropology Stanford University Stanford CA 94305 USA
                [ 2 ] California Department of Public Health Vector Borne Disease Section 850 Marina Bay Parkway Richmond CA 94804 USA
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence: E‐mail: dansalkeld@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                ELE12101
                10.1111/ele.12101
                7163739
                23489376
                © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS

                This article is being made freely available through PubMed Central as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency response. It can be used for unrestricted research re-use and analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source, for the duration of the public health emergency.

                Page count
                Pages: 8
                Product
                Categories
                Letter
                Letters
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                May 2013
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.8.0 mode:remove_FC converted:15.04.2020

                Ecology

                zoonotic disease, dilution effect, hantavirus, lyme disease, west nile virus, wildlife biodiversity

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