Wildlife Diseases

Pandemics Ahead: Number 8 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157. http://amzn.to/2yn7XrC

One aspect of the livestock-wildlife interface is zoonotic disease, which is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans. Disease is largely an environmental issue. Around 60% of emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are zoonotic, and over two-thirds of those originate in wildlife. For instance, AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more.(883) 

Many zoonotic diseases have a wildlife reservoir that acts as an impediment to eradication in domesticated populations. For example, rabies, bovine tuberculosis, paratuberculosis, brucellosis, avian flu, and cattle fever tick.(884) Bovine tuberculosis is due to Mycobacterium bovis, a worldwide zoonotic disease carried by cattle and ingested by humans via milk and carcass. M. bovis has infected wildlife as well, including cervids in North America, badgers in the UK, possums in New Zealand, buffalo in South Africa, and feral pigs in Europe.(885) 

In Malaysia, pigs are exposed to fruit bats infected with Nipah virus. The virus can rapidly spread through the country’s pig population, certainly through trade and possibly between farms by dogs and cats. Humans in direct contact with pigs can then acquire the infection and its often-fatal encephalitis.(886)

Wildlife can also serve as vectors for nonzoonotic diseases of food animals. The problem is exacerbated by how livestock are kept in poor countries, which can magnify diseases borne by wild animals. Over two million people a year are killed by diseases that spread to humans from wild and domestic animals.(887)

Domesticates are inadvertently leading to extinction of wildlife. A pneumonia outbreak in 2010 killed 65 of the critically endangered markhor goat in Tajikistan, as much as 20 percent of the remaining population. The markhors contracted the disease for domestic goats.(888)

Chapter 23: 6TH MASS EXTINCTION, page 228

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