Some animal diseases are of interest purely for their impacts on livestock and/or wildlife, whereas zoonoses are diseases that naturally transmit from vertebrate animals to humans.

Both the diseases and the measures used to control them can affect many aspects of our lives:

  • Public health from introductions of pathogenic zoonotic diseases into human populations: for example, Ebola outbreaks begin with the transmission of the Ebola virus from animal hosts to humans. SARS also originated in animals
  • The environment: Chytrid fungus has led to amphibian extinctions and thereby changed the balance of ecosystems
  • The economy: the control of bovine TB in British cattle costs the UK government o the order of £100 million annually. The control of the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease epidemic cost the public sector in excess of £3 billion and the private sector in excess of £5 billion, including disruption of industries unrelated to animals, such as tourism.

Centre staff advise the UK government and international organisations on policies to control animal diseases and zoonoses, building on their work to understand the natural history and transmission dynamics of these diseases.

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