Animal Migration and Infectious Disease Risk

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Science  21 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6015, pp. 296-302
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194694

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Animal migrations are often spectacular, and migratory species harbor zoonotic pathogens of importance to humans. Animal migrations are expected to enhance the global spread of pathogens and facilitate cross-species transmission. This does happen, but new research has also shown that migration allows hosts to escape from infected habitats, reduces disease levels when infected animals do not migrate successfully, and may lead to the evolution of less-virulent pathogens. Migratory demands can also reduce immune function, with consequences for host susceptibility and mortality. Studies of pathogen dynamics in migratory species and how these will respond to global change are urgently needed to predict future disease risks for wildlife and humans alike.

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