The growing economic, aesthetic and cultural importance of wildlife in recent decades cannot be overlooked by the veterinary profession. The bi-directional transmission of infectious diseases between wildlife and domestic animals, the zoonotic implications of some diseases as well as the effect of wildlife diseases on the international standards used for trade in domestic animals and animal products, pose a major and continuing challenge to veterinary scientists. In many countries, campaigns and schemes aimed at the eradication of certain infectious diseases in domestic livestock are in place, and have been implemented at great cost and with significant success. The possibility of persistent cycling of infection in sylvatic reservoirs, following the successful control of a disease in domestic animals, is cause for concern to both veterinary regulatory officials and wildlife conservationists.
Wildlife disease management in free-ranging populations is inherently technically difficult and is frequently a contentious ecological issue when dealing with endemic or indigenous diseases in native species. These diseases are often considered to be one of many selection pressures, which result in population resilience. However, the disease threat to domestic animals and the zoonotic potential must also be addressed in the debate. The introduction of a foreign animal disease or parasite into an ecosystem is another matter completely, and should be prevented at all costs. Disease hazard identification, risk assessment and risk management techniques are essential tools for responsible wildlife translocations.
These volumes of the OIE Scientific and Technical Review deal with the detection, diagnosis and management of infectious diseases in wildlife. The numerous talented authors who have contributed to these volumes address a range of pertinent issues, relevant concepts and practical techniques. In order to familiarise the reader with important background information, some specific chapters are incorporated to address the value of wildlife (economics and conservation), international regulations for movement and trade (including the role of the OIE, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [CITES] and the World Conservation Union [IUCN]), and the use of geographic information systems as an epidemiological tool.
Other chapters address a range of subjects, including disease surveillance and monitoring, the wildlife/livestock interface, disease management strategies, emerging diseases of wildlife, bio-terrorism and biodiversity, diseases of farmed wildlife and diagnostic pathology.
Finally, several chapters are dedicated to specific diseases which were historically, or are currently, problematic in wildlife.