Understanding the emergence of new zoonotic agents requires knowledge of pathogen biodiversity in wildlife, human-wildlife interactions, anthropogenic pressures on wildlife populations, and changes in society and human behavior. We discuss an interdisciplinary approach combining virology, wildlife biology, disease ecology, and anthropology that enables better understanding of how deforestation and associated hunting leads to the emergence of novel zoonotic pathogens.
"Due to the close phylogenetic relationship between great apes and humans, the risk for zoonotic transmission is highest during close contact to great apes (e.g., chimpanzee, gorilla; Calattini et al. 2007), and major retroviral pandemics, such as HIV- 1, originated in apes (Sharp and Hahn 2011). Also, the transmission of blood-borne pathogens like retroviruses is more likely during the hunt and the slaughter of NHP (Calattini et al. 2007; Hahn et al. 2000; Switzer et al. 2004, 2012), than during consumption of cooked meat (Wolfe et al. 2005a). Nevertheless, the high prevalence of pathogens with zoonotic potential in primates from TNP (reviewed in Gogarten et al. 2014a, b) and the presence of acute disease-causing pathogens in CI (Formenty et al. 1999; Leendertz et al. 2006; Radonicét al. 2014) certainly increase the likelihood of cross-species transmission and of disease emergence. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elevated exposure levels to non-human primates (NHP) and NHP bushmeat represent major risk factors for zoonotic disease transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Demography can affect personal nutritional behavior, and thus rates of contact to NHP bushmeat. Here, we analyzed demographic and NHP contact data from 504 participants of differing demographic backgrounds living in proximity to the Taï National Park in Western Côte d'Ivoire (CI) to identify factors impacting the risk of NHP exposure. Overall, participants' contact rates to NHP were high, and increased along a gradient of bushmeat processing (e.g., 7.7% hunted, but 61.9% consumed monkeys). Contact to monkeys was significantly more frequent than to chimpanzees, most likely a reflection of meat availability and hunting effort. 17.2% of participants reported previous interaction with NHP pets. Generalized linear mixed model analysis revealed significant effects of sex, country of birth or ethnicity on rates of NHP bushmeat contact, with male participants from CI being at particular risk of exposure to NHP. The presence of zoonotic pathogens in humans and NHP in Taï further highlights the risk for zoonotic disease emergence in this region. Our results are relevant for formulating prevention strategies to reduce zoonotic pathogen burden in tropical Africa.
"Intensive or sustained usage of areas of high biodiversity may also mediate the risk of other emerging and zoonotic diseases from a variety of reservoir hosts (Woolhouse and Gaunt 2007). For instance, the increased disease incidence documented where deforestation is occurring often cannot be ascribed directly to the loss of biodiversity that comes along with deforestation (and thus, to a dilution effect), but rather to the increase in human contact with forested habitat that deforestation entails (Wolfe et al. 2005). These examples illustrate how humans who enter areas of high biodiversity can be at heightened risk for some infectious diseases. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Control of human infectious disease has been promoted as a valuable ecosystem service arising from the conservation of biodiversity. There are two commonly discussed mechanisms by which biodiversity loss could increase rates of infectious disease in a landscape. First, loss of competitors or predators could facilitate an increase in the abundance of competent reservoir hosts. Second, biodiversity loss could disproportionately affect non-competent, or less competent reservoir hosts, which would otherwise interfere with pathogen transmission to human populations by, for example, wasting the bites of infected vectors. A negative association between biodiversity and disease risk, sometimes called the "dilution effect hypothesis," has been supported for a few disease agents, suggests an exciting win-win outcome for the environment and society, and has become a pervasive topic in the disease ecology literature. Case studies have been assembled to argue that the dilution effect is general across disease agents. Less touted are examples in which elevated biodiversity does not affect or increases infectious disease risk for pathogens of public health concern. In order to assess the likely generality of the dilution effect, we review the association between biodiversity and public health across a broad variety of human disease agents. Overall, we hypothesize that conditions for the dilution effect are unlikely to be met for most important diseases of humans. Biodiversity probably has little net effect on most human infectious diseases but, when it does have an effect, observation and basic logic suggest that biodiversity will be more likely to increase than to decrease infectious disease risk.
"First, because the conditions that trigger pathogenic exchange are multifaceted and persistent. Moreover, recent work in genetics suggest that zoonoses may only emerge and become established in human populations after repeated, unsuccessful, transmissions—or processes of what Wolfe et al. (2005) term " viral chatter. " 13 Disease risk is not, then, " located, " in the sense of being a feature of a particular kind of place—forest frontiers, animal parks, and so on. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article outlines a research program for an anthropology of viral hemorrhagic fevers (collectively known as VHFs). It begins by reviewing the social science literature on Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa fevers and charting areas for future ethnographic attention. We theoretically elaborate the hotspot as a way of integrating analysis of the two routes of VHF infection: from animal reservoirs to humans and between humans. Drawing together recent anthropological investigations of human–animal entanglements with an ethnographic interest in the social production of space, we seek to enrich conceptualizations of viral movement by elaborating the circumstances through which viruses, humans, objects, and animals come into contact. We suggest that attention to the material proximities—between animals, humans, and objects—that constitute the hotspot opens a frontier site for critical and methodological development in medical anthropology and for future collaborations in VHF management and control.
Medical Anthropology Quarterly 04/2014; 28(2). DOI:10.1111/maq.12092 · 1.30 Impact Factor
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