Date of this Version
Viruses 2019, 11, 14
Land use influences disease emergence by changing the ecological dynamics of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and pathogens. This is a central tenet of One Health, and one that is gaining momentum in wildlife management decision-making in the United States. Using almost 2000 serological samples collected from non-native wild pigs (Sus scrofa) throughout Florida (U.S.), we compared the prevalence and exposure risk of two directly transmitted pathogens, pseudorabies virus (PrV) and Brucella spp., to test the hypothesis that disease emergence would be positively correlated with one of the most basic wildlife management operations: Hunting. The seroprevalence of PrV-Brucella spp. coinfection or PrV alone was higher for wild pigs in land management areas that allowed hunting with dogs than in areas that culled animals using other harvest methods. This pattern did not hold for Brucella alone. The likelihood of exposure to PrV, but not Brucella spp., was also significantly higher among wild pigs at hunted sites than at sites where animals were culled. By failing to consider the impact of dog hunting on the emergence of non-native pathogens, current animal management practices have the potential to affect public health, the commercial livestock industry, and wildlife conservation.