[Zoonoses with wildlife reservoirs: a threat to public health and the economy]

Carlos Cabello C, Felipe Cabello C
Revista Médica de Chile 2008, 136 (3): 385-93
The world is experiencing an increase in emergent infections as a result of anthropogenic changes of the biosphere and globalization. Global warming unrestricted exploitation of natural resources such as forests and fisheries, urbanization, human migration, and industrialization of animal husbandry cause environmental destruction and fragmentation. These changes of the biosphere favor local emergence of zoonoses from their natural biotopes and their interaction with domestic animals and human populations. Subsequently, international commerce, human and animal migration and travel, favor the dissemination of these zoonotic pathogens worldwide. Chile is undergoing an important degradation of many wild-life biotopes, affecting their diversity and contributing to the dissemination of zoonoses such as Chagas disease, Hantavirus, rabies, fish tapeworms, and marine vibriosis. Moreover, agents of many other zoonoses such as inverted exclamation markeptospirosis, hydatidosis, salmonellosis, rabies, brucellosis and anthrax have been detected in different wild-life environments in the country. The intensification and accelerations of the anthropogenic deterioration of the biosphere in Chile, as results of the unrestricted utilization of natural resources and global climate change, suggests that emergence of new zoonoses in the near future will lead to important public health and economic problems. Forestalling of these problems will require active epidemiológica! surveillance of wild and domestic animals with a wide range of modern molecular and ancillary epidemiológica! tools. This also demands government and private sector (i.e., animal husbandry) intervention, funding and the collaboration of professionals in human and veterinary medicine with those in the environmental sciences including ecology, climatology and oceanography.

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