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Reconstructing the emergence of a lethal infectious disease of wildlife supports a key role for spread through translocations by humans

Price, S; Garner, TWJ; Cunningham, AA; Langton, T; Nichols, RA; (2016) Reconstructing the emergence of a lethal infectious disease of wildlife supports a key role for spread through translocations by humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B , 283 (1839) , Article 20160952. 10.1098/rspb.2016.0952. Green open access

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Abstract

There have been few reconstructions of wildlife disease emergences, despite their extensive impact on biodiversity and human health. This is in large part attributable to the lack of structured and robust spatio-temporal datasets. We overcame logistical problems of obtaining suitable information by using data from a citizen science project and formulating spatio-temporal models of the spread of a wildlife pathogen (genus Ranavirus, infecting amphibians). We evaluated three main hypotheses for the rapid increase in disease reports in the UK: that outbreaks were being reported more frequently, that climate change had altered the interaction between hosts and a previously widespread pathogen, and that disease was emerging due to spatial spread of a novel pathogen. Our analysis characterized localized spread from nearby ponds, consistent with amphibian dispersal, but also revealed a highly significant trend for elevated rates of additional outbreaks in localities with higher human population density—pointing to human activities in also spreading the virus. Phylogenetic analyses of pathogen genomes support the inference of at least two independent introductions into the UK. Together these results point strongly to humans repeatedly translocating ranaviruses into the UK from other countries and between UK ponds, and therefore suggest potential control measures.

Type: Article
Title: Reconstructing the emergence of a lethal infectious disease of wildlife supports a key role for spread through translocations by humans
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0952
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.0952
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Pathogen pollution, Ranavirus, Citizen science, Wildlife disease, Anthropogenic drivers, Spatio-temporal models
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1513265
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