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Spillover of zoonotic pathogens: A review of reviews.

Abstract

Zoonotic spillover and subsequent disease emergence cause significant, long-lasting impacts on our social, economic, environmental and political systems. Identifying and averting spillover transmission is crucial for preventing outbreaks and mitigating infectious disease burdens. Investigating the processes that lead to spillover fundamentally involves interactions between animals, humans, pathogens and the environments they inhabit. Accordingly, it is recognized that transdisciplinary approaches provide a more holistic understanding of spillover phenomena. To characterize the discourse about spillover within and between disciplines, we conducted a review of review papers about spillover from multiple disciplines. We systematically searched and screened literature from several databases to identify a corpus of review papers from ten academic disciplines. We performed qualitative content analysis on text where authors described either a spillover pathway, or a conceptual gap in spillover theory. Cluster analysis of pathway data identified nine major spillover processes discussed in the review literature. We summarized the main features of each process, how different disciplines contributed to them, and identified specialist and generalist disciplines based on the breadth of processes they studied. Network analyses showed strong similarities between concepts reviewed by 'One Health' disciplines (e.g. Veterinary Science & Animal Health, Public Health & Medicine, Ecology & Evolution, Environmental Science), which had broad conceptual scope and were well-connected to other disciplines. By contrast, awas focused on processes that are relatively overlooked by other disciplines, especially those involving food behaviour and livestock husbandry practices. Virology and Cellular & Molecular Biology were narrower in scope, primarily focusing on concepts related to adaption and evolution of zoonotic viruses. Finally, we identified priority areas for future research into zoonotic spillover by studying the gap data.

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Citation:

Sánchez CA, Venkatachalam-Vaz J, Drake JM. (2021). Spillover of zoonotic pathogens: A review of reviews. Zoonoses and public health