Wildlife susceptibility to infectious diseases


Wildlife susceptibility to infectious diseases

"Disease transmission prediction across wildlife is crucial for risk assessment of emerging infectious diseases. Susceptibility of host species to pathogens is influenced by the geographic, environmental, and phylogenetic context of the specific system under study.

We used machine learning to analyze how such variables influence pathogen incidence for multihost pathogen assemblages, including one of direct transmission and two vector-borne systems. Here we show that this methodology is able to provide reliable global spatial susceptibility predictions for the studied host-pathogen systems, even when using a small amount of incidence informatio.

We found that avian malaria was mostly affected by environmental factors and by an interaction between phylogeny and geography, and WNV susceptibility was mostly influenced by phylogeny and by the interaction between geographic and environmental distances, whereas coronavirus susceptibility was mostly affected by geography.

This approach will help to direct surveillance and field efforts providing cost-effective decisions on where to invest limited resources." This was reported on the study: Wildlife susceptibility to infectious diseases at global scales, published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Avian influenza is a highly diffusive infectious infectious disease, due to an influenza A strain virus, which affects various species of wild and domestic birds, with symptoms that can be inapparent or mild, or serious and systemic with involvement of the respiratory systems, digestive and nervous systems and high mortality.

The virus can transmit to humans, as has been conclusively demonstrated since 1997. In July 2004 a group of researchers led by H. Deng of the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, and Professor Robert Webster of St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, reported the results of experiments in which mice were exposed to the virus.

They found a progressive increase in pathogenicity over three years. Given the economic and health importance of the disease, no therapy is implemented but eradication measures are implemented. Antiviral drugs are sometimes effective in both preventing and treating the disease.

In the future, however, antiviral drugs could prove ineffective: in China many of these drugs were being administered to chickens as early as the early 1990s, and the virus may have developed some resistance to these types of drugs.