Zoonosis emergence linked to agricultural intensification and environmental change

Edited by Jeffrey Sayer, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, and accepted by the Editorial Board December 21, 2012 (received for review June 14, 2012)
May 13, 2013
110 (21) 8399-8404


A systematic review was conducted by a multidisciplinary team to analyze qualitatively best available scientific evidence on the effect of agricultural intensification and environmental changes on the risk of zoonoses for which there are epidemiological interactions between wildlife and livestock. The study found several examples in which agricultural intensification and/or environmental change were associated with an increased risk of zoonotic disease emergence, driven by the impact of an expanding human population and changing human behavior on the environment. We conclude that the rate of future zoonotic disease emergence or reemergence will be closely linked to the evolution of the agriculture–environment nexus. However, available research inadequately addresses the complexity and interrelatedness of environmental, biological, economic, and social dimensions of zoonotic pathogen emergence, which significantly limits our ability to predict, prevent, and respond to zoonotic disease emergence.

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This study was funded by the Department for International Development, United Kingdom.

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Information & Authors


Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 110 | No. 21
May 21, 2013
PubMed: 23671097


Submission history

Published online: May 13, 2013
Published in issue: May 21, 2013


  1. health
  2. epidemiology
  3. ecosystem
  4. ecology


This study was funded by the Department for International Development, United Kingdom.


This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. J.S. is a guest editor invited by the Editorial Board.



Bryony A. Jones1 [email protected]
Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group and
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Delia Grace
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Richard Kock
Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, United Kingdom; and
Silvia Alonso
Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group and
Jonathan Rushton
Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group and
Mohammed Y. Said
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Declan McKeever
Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, United Kingdom; and
Florence Mutua
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Jarrah Young
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
John McDermott
International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Dirk Udo Pfeiffer
Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group and


To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected].
Author contributions: D.G., R.K., S.A., J.R., M.Y.S., D.M., J.M., and D.U.P. designed research; B.A.J., D.G., R.K., S.A., J.R., M.Y.S., D.M., F.M., J.Y., and D.U.P. performed research; B.A.J., D.G., R.K., S.A., J.R., M.Y.S., and D.U.P. analyzed data; and B.A.J., D.G., R.K., S.A., J.R., D.M., and D.U.P. wrote the paper.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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    Zoonosis emergence linked to agricultural intensification and environmental change
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    • Vol. 110
    • No. 21
    • pp. 8315-8750







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