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Active responses to outbreaks of infectious wildlife diseases: objectives, strategies and constraints determine feasibility and success


Bozzuto, Claudio; Schmidt, Benedikt R; Canessa, Stefano (2020). Active responses to outbreaks of infectious wildlife diseases: objectives, strategies and constraints determine feasibility and success. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 287(1939):20202475.

Abstract

Emerging wildlife diseases are taking a heavy toll on animal and plant species worldwide. Mitigation, particularly in the initial epidemic phase, is hindered by uncertainty about the epidemiology and management of emerging diseases, but also by vague or poorly defined objectives. Here, we use a quantitative analysis to assess how the decision context of mitigation objectives, available strategies and practical constraints influences the decision of whether and how to respond to epidemics in wildlife. To illustrate our approach, we parametrized the model for European fire salamanders affected by Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, and explored different combinations of conservation, containment and budgetary objectives. We found that in approximately half of those scenarios, host removal strategies perform equal to or worse than no management at all during a local outbreak, particularly where removal cannot exclusively target infected individuals. Moreover, the window for intervention shrinks rapidly if an outbreak is detected late or if a response is delayed. Clearly defining the decision context is, therefore, vital to plan meaningful responses to novel outbreaks. Explicitly stating objectives, strategies and constraints, if possible before an outbreak occurs, avoids wasting precious resources and creating false expectations about what can and cannot be achieved during the epidemic phase.

Abstract

Emerging wildlife diseases are taking a heavy toll on animal and plant species worldwide. Mitigation, particularly in the initial epidemic phase, is hindered by uncertainty about the epidemiology and management of emerging diseases, but also by vague or poorly defined objectives. Here, we use a quantitative analysis to assess how the decision context of mitigation objectives, available strategies and practical constraints influences the decision of whether and how to respond to epidemics in wildlife. To illustrate our approach, we parametrized the model for European fire salamanders affected by Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, and explored different combinations of conservation, containment and budgetary objectives. We found that in approximately half of those scenarios, host removal strategies perform equal to or worse than no management at all during a local outbreak, particularly where removal cannot exclusively target infected individuals. Moreover, the window for intervention shrinks rapidly if an outbreak is detected late or if a response is delayed. Clearly defining the decision context is, therefore, vital to plan meaningful responses to novel outbreaks. Explicitly stating objectives, strategies and constraints, if possible before an outbreak occurs, avoids wasting precious resources and creating false expectations about what can and cannot be achieved during the epidemic phase.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:wildlife, disease, outbreak, mitigation, objective
Language:English
Date:25 November 2020
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 16:04
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 16:05
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.2475

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