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Product title :

Defining an emerging disease

Author(s) : F. Moutou & P.-P. Pastoret

Summary :

Defining an emerging disease is not straightforward, as there are several different types of disease emergence. For example, there can be a ‘real’ emergence of a brand new disease, such as the emergence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the 1980s, or a geographic emergence in an area not previously affected, such as the emergence of bluetongue in northern Europe in 2006. In addition, disease can emerge in species formerly not considered affected, e.g. the emergence of bovine tuberculosis in wildlife species since 2000 in France. There can also be an unexpected increase of disease incidence in a known area and a known species, or there may simply be an increase in our knowledge or awareness of a particular disease. What all these emerging diseases have in common is that human activity frequently has a role to play in their emergence. For example, bovine spongiform encephalopathy very probably emerged as a result of changes in the manufacturing of meat-and-bone meal, bluetongue was able to spread to cooler climes as a result of uncontrolled trade in animals, and a relaxation of screening and surveillance for bovine tuberculosis enabled the disease to re-emerge in areas that had been able to drastically reduce the number of cases.

Keywords
Biodiversity – Bluetongue – Bovine spongiform encephalopathy – Bovine tuberculosis – Emerging disease – Globalisation – Lyssavirus – Re-emerging disease – Zoonosis.

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