Zoonoses: a potential obstacle to the growing wildlife industry of Namibia

Zoonoses, which account for approximately 75% of emerging human infectious diseases worldwide, pose a re-emerging threat to public health. With an ever-increasing interrelationship between humans, livestock and wildlife species, the threat to human health will rise to unprecedented levels. Wildlife species contribute to the majority of emerging diseases; therefore, there is an urgent need to define control systems of zoonoses of wildlife origin but very little information exists. In this review, we examine prevalent zoonotic infections reported in Namibia between 1990 and 2009 and assess their potential impact on the growing wildlife industry. A wide spectrum of zoonotic diseases was confirmed in both livestock and wildlife species, with rabies and anthrax cases being over-represented and also showing the widest species distribution. Whilst vaccination and ante-mortem inspection against these diseases may curb infected livestock species from entering the human food chain, such practices are difficult to implement in free-ranging wildlife species. In this context, there is a need to improve existing control measures and/or develop novel and better interventional strategies to reduce the threat of this re-emerging global problem. This review provides the basis for initiating a multidisciplinary evidence-based approach to control zoonoses in countries with thriving wildlife and game farming.

Last Updated
March 25, 2021