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Mammals, wildlife trade, and the next global pandemic

Citation

K N, Shivaprakash et al. (2021), Mammals, wildlife trade, and the next global pandemic, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fxpnvx0rm

Abstract

Most new infectious diseases emerge when pathogens transfer from animals to humans1,2. The suspected origin of the COVID pandemic in wildlife wet market has resurfaced debates on the role of wildlife trade as a potential source of emerging zoonotic diseases3,4,5. Yet, there are no studies quantitatively assessing zoonotic disease risk associated with wildlife trade. Combining data of mammal species hosting zoonotic viruses and data on mammals known to be in current and future wildlife trade6, we find that one-quarter (26.5%) of the mammals in wildlife trade harbor 75% of known zoonotic viruses, at levels much higher than domesticated and non-traded mammals. The traded mammals also harbor distinct composition of zoonotic viruses and different host reservoirs than non-traded and domesticated mammals. Furthermore, we highlight that species of primates, ungulates, carnivores, and bats represent significant zoonotic diseases risk as they host a 132 (58%) of 226 known zoonotic viruses in present wildlife trade. Whereas species of bats, rodents, and marsupials represent significant zoonotic diseases risk in future wildlife trade. Thus, the risk of carrying zoonotic diseases is not equal for all mammal species in wildlife trade. Overall, our findings strengthen the evidence that wildlife trade and zoonotic disease risks are strongly associated and that mitigation measures should prioritize species with the highest risk of carrying zoonotic viruses.  Curbing the sales of wildlife products and developing principles that support the sustainable and healthy trade of wildlife could be a cost-effective investment given the potential risk and consequences of zoonotic outbreaks.

Methods

Dataset was collected through literature survey

Funding

Indian Collaborative for Applied Sustainability Solutions (ICASS), Award: TATA trust

Indian Collaborative for Applied Sustainability Solutions (ICASS), Award: TATA trust