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Special Issues

  • Ao Li

    Visiting Associate Professor,
    Department of Pharmacology,
    Yale University School of Medicine,

Most emerging human infectious diseases originate in wild mammals [1]. More diseases are now spreading from animals to humans. Zoonotic diseases spread to humans via contact with animals or insects that might be carrying various bacteria, parasites, viruses or fungi that can then take up residence in unsuspecting people. About 70 percent of the new diseases that have infected humans in recent years have come from animals. Some diseases that have moved from animals to humans have caused the deaths of millions of people [2].
These diseases have different ways of transmission. Some directly transmitted from animals to humans through media such as air or through bites and saliva. In contrast, some transmitted via an intermediate species, which carry the disease pathogen without getting infected. Companionistic (pets), economic (farming, etc.), predatory (hunting, butchering or consuming wild game) or research contact with or consumption of animals, animal products, or animal derivatives (vaccines, etc.) can cause disease spread from animals to humans [3].
Viral zoonoses are the most serious threat to public health and global security, and have caused the majority of recent pandemics in people, particularly zoonotic viruses such as HIV, Ebola and SARS [4]. Other zoonoses include bacterial diseases and mycotic diseases. Yet our understanding of the factors driving pathogen diversity in mammals, pathogen host range, and cross-species transmission to humans remain, however, elusive.
Our aim of this issue is to discover, report and explore disease spread from animals to humans or endangered species and facilitate people better elucidating the pathogenesis and molecular mechanism these disease.

1. Olival KJ, et al. (2017) Host and viral traits predict zoonotic spillover from mammals. Nature 546: 646-650.
2. Wang LF and Crameri G (2014) Emerging zoonotic viral diseases. Rev Sci Tech Off Int Epiz 33: 569-581.
3. Taylor LH, et al. (2001) Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences 356: 983-989.
4. Venkatesan G, et al. (2010) Viral Zoonosis: A Comprehensive Review. Asian J Anim Vet Adv 5:77-92.