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Epidemiological role of birds in the transmission and maintenance of zoonoses

Author(s) : A. Contreras, et al.

Summary :

The risk of zoonoses spreading from birds to humans is lower, quantitatively speaking, than the risk of transmission between other host groups, because the two taxonomic groups share fewer pathogens. Nevertheless, birds have a number of epidemiological characteristics that make them extremely important hosts in the transmission and maintenance of zoonoses, including their susceptibility to pathogens that are extremely hazardous to humans (such as highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, West Nile virus and Chlamydia psittaci) and their ability to travel long distances, especially in the case of migratory birds. The fact that the human diet includes poultry products (meat, eggs and their by-products) also means that most human cases of foodborne zoonoses are infections of avian origin. Lastly, close contact between humans and pet birds or urban birds leads to interactions of public health concern. This article sets out to describe the main factors that determine the role of birds in the epidemiology of zoonotic infections.

Birds – Domestic – Epidemiology – Companion animal – Public health – Wild – Urban – Zoonosis.

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