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The Conservation Relevance of Epidemiological Research into Carnivore Viral Diseases in the Serengeti

Authors

  • SARAH CLEAVELAND,

    Corresponding author
    1. Wildlife and Emerging Diseases Section, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, United Kingdom
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  • TITUS MLENGEYA,

    1. Tanzania National Parks, P.O. Box 3134, Arusha, Tanzania
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  • MAGAI KAARE,

    1. Wildlife and Emerging Diseases Section, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, United Kingdom
    2. Ministry of Water and Livestock Development, P.O. Box 322, Musoma, Tanzania
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  • DAN HAYDON,

    1. Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, United Kingdom
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  • TIZIANA LEMBO,

    1. Wildlife and Emerging Diseases Section, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, United Kingdom
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  • M. KAREN LAURENSON,

    1. Wildlife and Emerging Diseases Section, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, United Kingdom
    2. Frankfurt Zoological Society, P.O. Box 14935, Arusha, Tanzania
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  • CRAIG PACKER

    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, University of Minnesota, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St. Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A.
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email sarah.cleaveland@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Abstract: Recent outbreaks of rabies and canine distemper in wildlife populations of the Serengeti show that infectious disease constitutes a significant cause of mortality that can result in regional extirpation of endangered species even within large, well-protected areas. Nevertheless, effective management of an infectious disease depends critically on understanding the epidemiological dynamics of the causative pathogen. Pathogens with short infection cycles cannot persist in small populations in the absence of a more permanent reservoir of infection. Development of appropriate interventions requires detailed data on transmission pathways between reservoirs and wildlife populations of conservation concern. Relevant data can be derived from long-term population monitoring, epidemic and case-surveillance patterns, genetic analyses of rapidly evolving pathogens, serological surveys, and intervention studies. We examined studies of carnivore diseases in the Serengeti. Epidemiological research contributes to wildlife conservation policy in terms of management of endangered populations and the integration of wildlife conservation with public health interventions. Long-term, integrative, cross-species research is essential for formulation of effective policy for disease control and optimization of ecosystem health.

Abstract

Resumen: Brotes recientes de rabia y moquillo en poblaciones silvestres del Serengeti muestran que las enfermedades infecciosas constituyen una causa significativa de mortandad que puede resultar en la extirpación regional de especies en peligro, aun en áreas extensas bien protegidas. Sin embargo, el manejo efectivo de una enfermedad infecciosa depende críticamente del entendimiento de la dinámica epidemiológica del patógeno. Los patógenos con ciclo infeccioso corto no pueden persistir en poblaciones pequeñas en ausencia de un reservorio de la infección más permanente. El desarrollo de intervenciones adecuadas requiere de datos detallados de las vías de transmisión entre reservorios y poblaciones de vida silvestre de preocupación para la conservación. Se pueden derivar datos importantes del monitoreo de poblaciones a largo plazo, de patrones de epidemias y de estudios de caso, del análisis genético de patógenos que evolucionan rápidamente, de muestreos sexológicos y de estudios de intervención. Examinamos estudios de enfermedades de carnívoros en el Serengeti. La investigación epidemiológica contribuye a las políticas de conservación de vida silvestre en términos de la gestión de poblaciones en peligro y de la integración de la conservación con intervenciones de salud pública. La investigación a largo plazo e integradora es esencial para la formulación de políticas efectivas para el control de enfermedades y la optimización de la salud del ecosistema.

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