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Land-use change and zoonotic disease risk: Dynamics at the human-animal interface

Loh, Elizabeth (2019) Land-use change and zoonotic disease risk: Dynamics at the human-animal interface. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:80009)

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Language: English

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Emerging infectious diseases are a significant threat to global public health and biosecurity. The majority (~60%) are zoonoses, which are infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, with most of these (>70%) caused by pathogens with a wildlife origin. EID events caused by wildlife pathogens are increasing in impact and through time – more than half of the most recent EIDs (1990-2000) had a wildlife origin. Bats are hosts to some of the highest profile emerging zoonoses, including Ebola, Nipah, and Hendra viruses, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In recent years, circumstances such as land-use change, human incursion into tropical forests and wildlife trade for food have resulted in the spillover of several zoonotic viruses. In the last two decades, viruses from the Coronaviridae family have caused two large-scale pandemics (i.e. SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome), and just this year a novel coronavirus was detected in China (nCoV2019) linked to the wildlife trade. At the time of writing, nCoV-2019 had spread to over 20 countries with over 4,500 confirmed cases. Thus, understanding the factors that increase disease emergence risk will be critical in developing strategies that can help minimize and manage the risk of future EIDs.

This thesis is a targeted study emphasizing rigorous and systematic sampling methodology to address the ecological and social factors that may drive zoonotic disease emergence due to land-use change, specifically habitat fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation could modify risk of cross-species transmission (“spillover”) by perturbing the dynamics of pathogens in wildlife hosts and/or by bringing novel host-pathogen pairs (including humans) into unprecendented contact. Here, I evaluate how habitat fragmentation affects 1) patterns of host diversity, 2) corresponding patterns of viral diversity, and 3) patterns of human occupancy, and behaviors that may influence contact rates with wildlife in dynamic landscapes. This research integrates theory and field data spanning the disciplines of ecology, virology, biology and public health.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2020 14:52 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:11 UTC
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