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Keywords:

  • bovine tuberculosis;
  • brucellosis;
  • cervids;
  • chronic wasting disease;
  • North America;
  • wildlife disease management;
  • wildlife disease models;
  • wildlife surveillance

Over the past two decades there has been a steady increase in the study and management of wildlife diseases. This trend has been driven by the perception of an increase in emerging zoonotic diseases and the recognition that wildlife can be a critical factor for controlling infectious diseases in domestic animals. Cervids are of recent concern because, as a group, they present a number of unique challenges. Their close ecological and phylogenetic relationship to livestock species places them at risk for receiving infections from, and reinfecting livestock. In addition, cervids are an important resource; revenue from hunting and viewing contribute substantially to agency budgets and local economies. A comprehensive coverage of infectious diseases in cervids is well beyond the scope of this chapter. In North America alone there are a number of infectious diseases that can potentially impact cervid populations, but for most of these, management is not feasible or the diseases are only a potential or future concern. We focus this chapter on three diseases that are of major management concern and the center of most disease research for cervids in North America: bovine tuberculosis, chronic wasting disease, and brucellosis. We discuss the available data and recent advances in modeling and management of these diseases.