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Wildlife pathogens and invasive alien species: Strengthening capacity for risk analysis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper/Powerpoint/Abstract



Original languageEnglish
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 7-Oct-2016
EventWildlife crossing borders : Joint symposium Belgian Wildlife Disease Society & Dutch Society for Wildlife Health - Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerpen, Belgium
Duration: 7-Oct-20167-Oct-2016


SymposiumWildlife crossing borders
Abbreviated titleBWDS
Internet address


The Convention on Biological Diversity wants priority invasive alien species (IAS)
identified, pathways controlled and management strategies deployed. The new EU
IAS Regulation provides a framework to protect biodiversity from IAS. For a
number of listed species, and more generally at least one quarter of the “world’s
worst IAS”, invasion and associated impacts are linked to wildlife diseases.
Pathogens may be left behind in the native range, affording enemy release to their
host, or they may be introduced and represent a source of pathogen pollution. Risk
analysis is used to evaluate the risk associated with species introductions and their
pathogens. However, interactions between vectors, hosts, pathogens and the
environment are complex. We address gaps constraining our ability to undertake
risk assessments and identify risk management options for pathogens of concern.
Pathogens need to be better covered in international (IAS) databases and data on
prevalence, pathogenicity, virulence and transmission dynamics are needed to
assess their risk. Assessing the exposure of native wildlife to novel pathogens is
constrained by lack of data on the distribution and likelihood of introduction.
Despite their role in mediating invasions, wildlife pathogens are excluded from the
IAS Regulation. In contrast with policies on diseases of humans or livestock, policy
on pathogens of wildlife is fragmented and characterized by a lack of international
cooperation. There is a need to address pathways by increased controls, health
surveillance of wildlife imports and wildlife populations, as well as increased
biosecurity awareness among all actors in the field. To identify and manage the
threats associated with alien pathogens and their vectors, the development of
interdisciplinary capacity, expertise and coordination is critical.

EWI Biomedical sciences

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  • invasive alien species, wildlife disease, pathogens
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