Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Domestic dogs and disease transmission in Atlantic forest, Brazil

Curi, N. H. D. A. (2014). Cães domésticos como espécie invasora na Mata Atlântica: sentinelas de saúde ecológica. Universidade Federal de Lavras.
The importance of health and diseases for biodiversity conservation is worldwide recognized since decades ago.  However, in Brazil, only recently this concern has entered the scientific and conservationist community. Despite the lack of data on the real impact of diseases over the Brazolian wildlife, some species shows ecological and epidemiological traits that may make them good health sentinels in certain scenarios, being also targets for prevention of outbreaks or disease-induced mortality in threatened populations. Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are considered an invasive species with high negative impact over wildlife. The yact as efficient mesopredators, competitively interfere and are the main reservoirs of pathogens to wild carnivores. They are also an important source of zoonosis, and recent studies demonstrate that they are strongly present inside Brazilian protected areas. However, little is known about their potential as disease reservoirs for humans and animals in wildlife/domestic animal/human interface zones in the country. Even less is known about the factors associated with this potential. With this background in mind, the aims of this study were to assess the occurrence and prevalence of infectious agents and parasites important for conservation (especially of mammal carnivores) and for human health in rural dog populations living around and near Atlantic Forest fragments, and also to raise disease-related rixk factors. Such factors can be ultimately manageable to protect human and animal health in these areas. We used a cross-sectional epidemilogical approach to perform a serologic inquiry of dogs for several diseases, such as leishmaniasis, canine distemper, parvovirosis, adenovirosis, coronavirosis and gastrointestinal parasites, and tested associations betweeen seropositivity versus individual and envireomental features involved with disease transmission between domestic animals, humans and wildlife. For this end, we usesd statistical tools such as logistic regressions and generalized linear mixed models, depending on pathogen type. We then listed the factors associated with disease presence, and suggested preventive measures in a case basis. Free-roaming behavior and poor management practices were among them. These results are important for human health protection in these scenarios. And, principally, provide guidelines for conservation action targeting a reduction of an important but neglected cause of extinction and threatening of wild carnivores in Brazil:diseases introduced and maintained by ubiquitous domestic dog populations. We hope the results stimulate practices, public policies and legislation to reduce the ecological and epidemiological impact of domestic dogs in biodiversity-rich areas.

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