Wildlife and Infectious Animal Diseases

The Proceedings of a Nordic –Baltic seminar on the role of the wildlife as reservoir and /or spread of infectious animal diseases in the coastal areas of countries bordering the Baltic Sea 2 – 3 October 2013, Gdansk, Poland

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Many infectious diseases of domestic animals and humans have reservoirs in wild animals. One of these diseases is rabies which worldwide causes more than 55,000 deaths pr. year. Climatic changes, human population growth, certain livestock production systems and continued globalization enhance the interface between wildlife, domestic animals and man. The wildlife component of this triad has received inadequate attention in the past to effectively protect man, livestock, poultry and pet animals. The seminar held in Gdansk, Poland 2–3 October 2013 highlighted how the wildlife has high economic, ecological, social and cultural value for the coastal areas bordering the Baltic Sea and how it contributes to recreation. Nevertheless, the wildlife plays also an important role in the spread of infectious diseases and thereby the need for focus on disease surveillance and control measures.




Wild animals have high economic, social, ecological and cultural value and play fundamental roles in the maintenance of stable ecosystems. Wildlife contributes significantly to recreation and tourism. Wildlife trade and natural migration contribute to the worldwide spread of new pathogens. Wildlife mass mortality results in public concern. Infectious diseases may have a devastating impact on wildlife populations and threaten their conservation. Wild animals host many pathogens and may act as reservoirs, maintaining infections in the ecosystem, which makes control and eradication difficult and has important health and economic impact on humans and livestock. Therefore, the value of maintaining naturally diverse and healthy wildlife populations cannot be overestimated.


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