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Emerging zoonotic infectious diseases – a multifactorial problem

Author(s): Beatriz Maria Pinto do Vale, Ana Patrícia Antunes Lopes, Maria da Conceição Medeiros Castro Fontes, António Mário Domingues Silvestre, Luís Miguel Martins Lucas Cardoso, Ana Cláudia Correia Coelho
Abstract: Emerging infectious diseases (EID) have been responsible for dark days of widespread suffering and death in human history and will certainly continue to pose a serious challenge into the future. Most of the EID outbreaks affecting humans are zoonoses of global concern and a burden for the economy of any country. Direct and diffuse anthropogenic pressure across ecosystems affect human-animal interface, leading to the cross of interspecies barriers by pathogens, and consequently, to zoonotic infectious disease outbreaks. The potential spread of zoonotic infectious diseases will depend on biological, social and environmental factors, such as: urbanization and human demography; international trade and travel; war and conflict; poverty, social inequality and urban decay; intentional biological attacks; microbial adaptation; economic development and land use; climate change; and technology and industry. The analysis and description of each of these EID drivers correspond to the aim of the present study. It is also emphasized the importance of the One Health approach as a tool that promotes a sophisticated transdisciplinary, multisectoral and collaborative framework, bringing together human, animal and environmental health professionals, to address complex global health problems in the 21st century, particularly zoonotic infectious diseases.
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