Driven to Extinction

Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 04/2008; 319(5870):1606-9. DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5870.1606
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rinderpest, an animal disease that devastated cattle and other animals--and their human keepers--across Eurasia and Africa
for millennia, may join smallpox as the only viral diseases to have been eradicated.

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    • "While rinderpest, one of the oldest recorded livestock plagues, was a great threat in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, it has been almost certainly eradicated from these countries by the success of the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is planning to declare the global rinderpest eradication at 2010 [2] [3]. In addition, morbilliviruses were recently reported to cause mass mortalities among marine mammals [4] [5]. "
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    • "Many pest organisms reach their most damaging levels away from their native geographic range. This general pattern has been documented for weeds [1], insect pests [2], and pathogens [3,4] among others. Extensive bodies of literature have developed around both the causes and consequences of invasive pests [5–7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Greenhouse gas emissions associated with pesticide applications against invasive species constitute an environmental cost of species invasions that has remained largely unrecognized. Here we calculate greenhouse gas emissions associated with the invasion of an agricultural pest from Asia to North America. The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, was first discovered in North America in 2000, and has led to a substantial increase in insecticide use in soybeans. We estimate that the manufacture, transport, and application of insecticides against soybean aphid results in approximately 10.6 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent greenhouse gasses being emitted per hectare of soybeans treated. Given the acreage sprayed, this has led to annual emissions of between 6 and 40 million kg of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gasses in the United States since the invasion of soybean aphid, depending on pest population size. Emissions would be higher were it not for the development of a threshold aphid density below which farmers are advised not to spray. Without a threshold, farmers tend to spray preemptively and the threshold allows farmers to take advantage of naturally occurring biological control of the soybean aphid, which can be substantial. We find that adoption of the soybean aphid economic threshold can lead to emission reductions of approximately 300 million kg of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases per year in the United States. Previous studies have documented that biological control agents such as lady beetles are capable of suppressing aphid densities below this threshold in over half of the soybean acreage in the U.S. Given the acreages involved this suggests that biological control results in annual emission reductions of over 200 million kg of CO2 equivalents. These analyses show how interactions between invasive species and organisms that suppress them can interact to affect greenhouse gas emissions.
    PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e72293. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0072293 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "For Africa, a case in point is rinderpest, a viral disease for which there had been, figuratively speaking, as many eradication campaigns as pandemics. These campaigns were typically pan-African and driven by considerable international support and cooperation (2). "
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    ABSTRACT: Human rabies is an ancient disease but in modern times has primarily been associated with dog rabies-endemic countries of Asia and Africa. From an African perspective, the inevitable and tragic consequences of rabies require serious reflection of the factors that continue to drive its neglect. Established as a major disease only after multiple introductions during the colonial era, rabies continues to spread into new reservoirs and territories in Africa. However, analysis of reported data identified major discrepancies that are indicators of poor surveillance, reporting, and cooperation among national, international, and global authorities. Ultimately, the absence of reliable and sustained data compromises the priority given to the control of rabies. Appropriate actions and changes, in accordance to the One Health philosophy and including aspects such as synchronized, shared, and unified global rabies data reporting, will not only be necessary, but also should be feasible.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 04/2013; 19(4):529-33. DOI:10.3201/eid1904.120185 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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