Epidemic dynamics at the human-animal interface

Science. 2009 Dec 4;326(5958):1362-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1177345.


Few infectious diseases are entirely human-specific: Most human pathogens also circulate in animals or else originated in nonhuman hosts. Influenza, plague, and trypanosomiasis are classic examples of zoonotic infections that transmit from animals to humans. The multihost ecology of zoonoses leads to complex dynamics, and analytical tools, such as mathematical modeling, are vital to the development of effective control policies and research agendas. Much attention has focused on modeling pathogens with simpler life cycles and immediate global urgency, such as influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome. Meanwhile, vector-transmitted, chronic, and protozoan infections have been neglected, as have crucial processes such as cross-species transmission. Progress in understanding and combating zoonoses requires a new generation of models that addresses a broader set of pathogen life histories and integrates across host species and scientific disciplines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / transmission
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Protozoan Infections / epidemiology
  • Protozoan Infections / transmission
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal / epidemiology
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal / transmission
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology
  • Virus Diseases / transmission
  • Virus Diseases / veterinary
  • Zoonoses* / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses* / transmission