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The microscopic five of the big five: managing zoonotic diseases within and beyond African wildlife protected areas

Tober, Anya V., Govender, Danny, Russo, Isa-Rita M. ORCID: and Cable, Jo ORCID: 2022. The microscopic five of the big five: managing zoonotic diseases within and beyond African wildlife protected areas. Rollinson, David and Stothard, Russell, eds. Advances in Parasitology Vol 117, Elsevier, pp. 1-46. (10.1016/bs.apar.2022.05.001)

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African protected areas strive to conserve the continent's great biodiversity with a targeted focus on the flagship ‘Big Five’ megafauna. Though often not considered, this biodiversity protection also extends to the lesser-known microbes and parasites that are maintained in these diverse ecosystems, often in a silent and endemically stable state. Climate and anthropogenic change, and associated diversity loss, however, are altering these dynamics leading to shifts in ecological interactions and pathogen spill over into new niches and hosts. As many African protected areas are bordered by game and livestock farms, as well as villages, they provide an ideal study system to assess infection dynamics at the human-livestock-wildlife interface. Here we review five zoonotic, multi-host diseases (bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, Rift Valley fever, schistosomiasis and cryptosporidiosis)—the ‘Microscopic Five’—and discuss the biotic and abiotic drivers of parasite transmission using the iconic Kruger National Park, South Africa, as a case study. We identify knowledge gaps regarding the impact of the ‘Microscopic Five’ on wildlife within parks and highlight the need for more empirical data, particularly for neglected (schistosomiasis) and newly emerging (cryptosporidiosis) diseases, as well as zoonotic disease risk from the rising bush meat trade and game farm industry. As protected areas strive to become further embedded in the socio-economic systems that surround them, providing benefits to local communities, One Health approaches can help maintain the ecological integrity of ecosystems, while protecting local communities and economies from the negative impacts of disease.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISBN: 9780323989497
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 11:39

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