A translational framework for wildlife disease research

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The last quarter of a century has seen the emergence of wildlife diseases of significance to conservation; significant human and domestic animal diseases derived from wildlife; and a corresponding increase in research output relating to wildlife disease and health. Despite this, very few examples of effective solutions addressing the impacts of wildlife disease exist. An analogous dichotomy between growth in basic scientific research and improvement of end-user outcomes was identified in human health more than a decade ago and led to the development of translational science.
The objective of most wildlife disease research, and certainly the basis for most funding of wildlife disease research, is ultimately to benefit human societies, current and future, through the conservation of biological diversity and/or the protection and improvement of human and domestic animal health. The field of wildlife disease science therefore is similar to conservation biology in that it is mission-oriented. I argue, therefore, that wildlife disease research needs to be solutions-focused and that the application of a translational framework is an appropriate means of facilitating this.
A translational framework composed of serial phases along a ‘bidirectional continuum of research’ is proposed (Fig. 1). The four phases include determination of the relative ecological, human social and economic significance of a disease; the translation of fundamental ‘mechanistic’ disease and disease ecology research into potential solutions, which may be socio-political or technical in nature; ssessment of the efficacy and deployability of possible interventions; and review of the deployment and success of wildlife disease interventions.
The implementation of this framework will demand a much broader multidisciplinary approach to wildlife disease research and especially inclusion of human psychology and sociology. Additionally, new frameworks for contextualising the significance of disease in species and ecosystem conservation, and for improving the efficacy of wildlife disease preparedness, surveillance and responsiveness systems are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018
EventThe Joint Conference of the Asian Society of Conservation Medicine (ASCM) and the Wildlife Disease Association Australasia (WDAA) - Grand Inna Bali Beach Hotel, Bali, Indonesia
Duration: 28 Oct 201829 Oct 2018


ConferenceThe Joint Conference of the Asian Society of Conservation Medicine (ASCM) and the Wildlife Disease Association Australasia (WDAA)
Abbreviated titleOne health in Asia Pacific
Internet address


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