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ARCHIVES OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY
2011Vol. 2 No. 2:4
© Under License of Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
There are various anthropogenic factors leading to the emer-gence, persistence and spread of zoonotic diseases.
Travel and tourism
The ease of transmission of emerging pathogens is facilitatedby intercontinental travel. Ecient air and land travel linksmake disease containment dicult as illustrated by the SARS-coronavirus outbreak . Tourism to more exotic locations and eco-adventure travel isgaining popularity. Volunteer work is also common in Africaand Asia. This exposes non-immune travelers to endemic dis-eases. Adventure sports expose athletes to “recreational zoo-noses”. Water sports e.g. canoeing, kayaking, river rafting hasbeen related to leptospirosis outbreaks as animals shed theorganism in their urine .
Globalization has seen goods transported via air, rail, sea andland to virtually any destination on the planet. The trade in usedtyres provided the breeding ground for mosquitoes adaptedto urban environments and small-container breeding (
). This allowed the rapid invasionof the Asian tiger mosquito and thus a shift from the historicalsylvatic transmission of chikungunya to cause widespread hu-man epidemics .Live animal markets in Asia bring multiple exotic species inclose contact creating a melting pot for inter-species diseasetransmission. In the case of the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV)outbreak in Guangdong Province, civet cats were found to har-bour coronaviruses with 99% similarity to the outbreak strain. Although they are not the natural reservoirs, civet catsplayed a role in transmission to humans which originated inthese trading markets.
Zoonotic transmission of diseases harboured by companionanimals is relating to the close contact with their owners. Hu-man salmonellosis is associated with keeping exotic reptilepets. Petting zoos are popular in urban areas and animal con-tact has lead to
O157:H7 outbreaks . The recent emergence of zoonotic leishmaniasis in Europe ispartly due to the domestic dog being the major reservoir host.
causes cutaneous and visceral leishmani-asis in the Mediterranean region and may spread due to traveland importation of infected dogs .Domestic cats are the main reservoir for
spp. Dis-eases including Cat scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis andpeliosis are therefore likely to persist and even increase as thereservoirs are unlikely to be eliminated .
Agricultural practices and Livestock farming
The human population explosion creates increased demandfor food and increased land use for agriculture and livestock farming which disrupts natural ecosystems.Dams and canals built for agricultural practices are potentiallynew breeding sites for mosquito vectors.Large scale animal husbandry is rising to compensate for con-sumer demand. The large numbers of animals or multiple spe-cies being farmed together facilitate infection across speciesbarriers . Farming animals allows new pathogens to increasetheir numbers exponentially. This ‘high intensity’ farming al-lows pathogens e.g.
O157:H7 strains that may occur insmall numbers to spread rapidly.Domestic animals themselves are reservoirs of zoonotic diseas-es. Voss et al described one of the rst cases of pig-farming re-lated methicillin-resistant
(MRSA) in theNetherlands . These porcine ST398 strains are non-type-able by conventional methods and are spreading throughoutEurope. Farming is now considered a risk factor for Livestock-associated MRSA (LaMRSA).Antibiotics used in livestock farming to improve growth andtreat infection apply selective pressure leading to the emer-gence of antimicrobial resistant strains in livestock and poultryas will be discussed below .
Food-borne zoonotic pathogens are increasing due to largescale food production, food processing and distribution. En-terohaemorrhagic
O157:H7 outbreaks are associatedwith undercooked meat . The emergence of ouroquino-lone-resistant
was associated with antibi-otic addition to chicken feed . Multi-drug resistant strainsof
. Typhimurium DT104 and
. Newport) arealso emerging [32,33].
Deforestation and Urban expansion
The loss of biodiversity due to deforestation has an impact onthe transmission of zoonotic diseases by the “dilution eect”.It is reasoned that in areas of high biodiversity, more speciessustain vectors and the disease is diluted. If there are fewerspecies, the burden of disease is higher . Wolfe et al de-scribes how clear-cut logging doesn’t increase the zoonosesrisk, but selective logging may do so as the forest biodiversityis maintained .