During recent decades, emerging pandemics of zoonotic origin have drawn attention to the interconnectedness between wild and domestic animal and human health. Although pathogen maintenance within wildlife populations and spillover to livestock has proved a common precursor to disease emergence in humans, the role of wildlife-livestock interfaces in disease ecology is a research gap.
This study is the first to utilize a scoping review framework to provide a comprehensive overview of published knowledge on infectious diseases at the wildlife-livestock interface. The specific aim was to quantitatively characterize published literature with respect to the types of diseases, the animal species involved, as well as the temporal and regional patterns.
Diseases considered in this research included all OIE-listed diseases of livestock, as well as other diseases deemed important by the OIE Working Group on Wildlife Diseases. An extensive literature search combining wildlife, livestock, disease, and geographical search strings was conducted in Web of Science™. Subsequently, a relational database was designed and dynamic queries were used to automatically link each record with its corresponding search term categories, enabling analysis on aggregated levels (e.g. continents). Overall 15,998 records were included in the final analysis.
Retrieved records were published between 1912 and 2013 and increased dramatically over time. During this period there was a shift in focus from parasitic to viral diseases. Fifteen diseases accounted for more than 50% of all records, eleven of which were zoonoses. Most commonly reported wildlife-livestock interfaces resulted largely from interaction between phylogenetically closely related and/or sympatric species.
By adapting a scoping review framework we identified the key diseases and wildlife-livestock interfaces on which research has been focused over the last century. Future work will help refine surveillance and research strategies and to inform policy makers, funding agencies, and other stakeholders about priority areas.