Date of this Version
Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) conjunctivitis is an example of the rapid geographic spread that can result from disease emergence in naive populations. That event was neither novel nor transient relative to its occurrence or effects. Disease emergence and reemergence are hallmarks of the latter part of the twentieth century (Center for Disease Control 1994, Levins et al. 1994, DaSilva and Laccarino 1999, Gratz 1999). Current examples involving domestic animals include the problems in Europe with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or ‘‘mad cow disease’’) (Brown 2001) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) (Kitching 1999). Human health has been affected by diseases caused by an array of viruses (Morse 1993, Nichol et al. 1993, Murphy and Nathanson 1994), bacteria (Dennis 1998, DaSilva and Laccarino 1999), rickettsia (Walker and Dumier 1996, Azad et al. 1997), protozoans (Tuerrant 1997, Saini et al. 2000), and metazoan parasites (Hildreth et al. 1991, Gubler 1998), as well as other causes. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has received the most notoriety of those diseases (Hahn et al. 2000, Schwartlander et al. 2000). A similar pattern exists on a global scale for free-ranging wildlife populations (Table 1) (Friend 1994, 1995; Epstein et al. 1998, Daszak et al. 2000). However, in comparison to disease emergence affecting humans and domestic animals, response to emerging diseases of wildlife is generally superficial. We present concepts and data to support our contention that failure to adequately address disease emergence in free-ranging wildlife is resulting in a diminished capability to achieve and sustain desired geographic distributions and population abundance for species of wild birds, including some threatened and endangered avifauna.