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Why is this Project Useful?

  1. Evaluating the impact wildlife trade has on diseases outbreaks 

Wildlife trade has contributed to the emergence of a series of zoonotic diseases including SARS, plague, monkey pox virus and others (Guarner et al., 2004, Bell et al., 2004, Tu et al., 2004). Through wildlife trade, animals move along trade/import/export routes, increasing their exposure to a broader geographic and taxonomic range of other animals, thereby linking previously fragmented populations, and enhancing the potential for pathogens to spread regionally and internationally. In addition, the crowded and stressful conditions in which animals are exposed to during trade facilitate disease expression. Thus, when humans come into contact with traded wildlife – through handling, consumption or more passive exposure through contact with excreta – they risk contracting pathogens carried by the wildlife. The role that wildlife and its trade play in diseases outbreaks of regional importance (typhus, anthrax, rabies, leptospirosis and trichinella), remains unknown. Therefore, this project aims to provide valuable information on the prevalence of these diseases in wildlife found in markets and help to guide disease outbreak response and mitigation strategies. 


  1. Assessing the consequences of massive deforestation and land-use changes

Meanwhile, “the rate of deforestation in Cambodia between 1990 and 2000 was an estimated at 56,000 hectares per year” (FAO, State of the World’s Forests, 2005), and became even greater from 2002, with an annual deforestation rate that moved from 0.34%, from 1965 to 2006, to 0.5% during the period 2002-2006-2010 (Suon Sovann, Preventing illegal logging and trading of rosewood in Cambodia, 2014). Despite the Cambodian government taking more and more provisions to counteract this issue, Cambodia will still need to bear the consequences of this deforestation for several years, and this is where our investigation on land-use changes comes into play.


  1. A One Health approach to counteract zoonoses

Currently, 75 per cent of emerging infectious diseaes are caused by pathogens originating in animals. Zoonoses kill 2.2m people annually at significant expense to people’s livelihoods, the environment and the health system. Mitigating the risks of further outbreaks demands intersectoral collaboration and coordination among public health, animal health and wildlife health professionals. The ‘ideal’ approach to disease prevention and control emphasises transmission disruption, with early warning, early detection and early response for the emergence of new zoonotic diseases and the transmission of endemic zoonotic diseases. This ‘ideal’ necessitates well-functioning surveillance systems and epidemiological investigations. Early and accurate diagnosis requires well-equipped and organised laboratories in the medical and veterinary sectors. Early response means timely notification of the disease to Government, international organisations (WHO, FAO, OIE) and neighbouring countries.

Due to the development of these new surveillance capabilities, more comprehensive disease outbreak responses and more targeted surveillance activities for an increased number of pathogens will be provided. This directly reduces the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks and mitigates the risk of endemic diseases.