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, 110 (21), 8399-404

Zoonosis Emergence Linked to Agricultural Intensification and Environmental Change


Zoonosis Emergence Linked to Agricultural Intensification and Environmental Change

Bryony A Jones et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


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.

Keywords: ecology; ecosystem; epidemiology; health.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Pathogen flow at the wildlife–livestock–human interface. Arrows indicate direct, indirect, or vector-borne candidate pathogen flow. In each host species there is a vast array of constantly evolving microorganisms, some of which are pathogenic in the host. These are a source of new organisms for other host species, some of which may be pathogenic in the new host or may evolve in the new host to become pathogenic. If the pathogen is also transmissible in the new host species then a new transmission cycle may be established. The rate and direction of candidate pathogen flow will depend on the nature and intensity of interaction between wildlife, livestock, and human compartments and the characteristics of the compartments (Table 1).

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