U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published in in G. M. Sapers, E. B. Solomon,and K. R. Matthews, editors. The produce contamination problem: causes and solutions. Academic Press, Boston, 2009.


There are over 1400 catalogued human pathogens, with approximately 62% classified as zoonotic (Taylor et al., 2001). Most evidence of direct transmission of pathogens to humans involves domestic and companion animals, whereas the reservoir for most zoonoses is wildlife; yet there are relatively few well-documented cases for the direct involvement of transmission from wildlife to humans (Kruse et al., 2004). In part, this absence of evidence reflects the mobility of wildlife, the difficulty accessing relevant samples, and the smaller number of studies focused on characterizing wildlife pathogens relative to the human and veterinary literature (McDiarmid, 1969; Davis et al., 1971; Hubalek, 2004).