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Host Richness Increases Tuberculosis Disease Risk in Game-Managed Areas

Animal Health Department, VISAVET Centre, Universidad Complutense Madrid, Avenida Puerta de Hierro s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
SaBio Group (Health and Biotechnology), Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC; CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(6), 182;
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 24 June 2019
PDF [775 KB, uploaded 24 June 2019]


Current scientific debate addresses whether species richness in animal communities may negatively moderate pathogen transmission and disease outcome (dilution effect), or to the contrary, if disease emergence benefits from more diverse community assemblages (amplification effect). The result may not depend exclusively on patterns of host species biodiversity but may depend on the specific composition of reservoir hosts and vectors, and their ecology. Host–pathogen interactions have shaped variations in parasite virulence, transmissibility and specificity. In the same way the importance of factors related to host exposure or to life history trade-offs are expected to vary. In this study, we demonstrate that ungulate host species richness correlates with increased community competence to maintain and transmit pathogens of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) in game-managed areas in Mediterranean Spain. Therefore, we should consider natural and artificial variations in life histories of pathogens and host communities to characterize the impact of biodiversity on the health of diverse assemblages of human and animal communities. Since most approaches assessing epidemiology and transmission of shared pathogens only involve single- or pair-species, further research is needed to better understand the infection dynamics from complete community assemblages, at least in chronic diseases such as tuberculosis and in non-natural animal communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: bovine tuberculosis; community assemblage; dilution effect; host diversity; transmission competence bovine tuberculosis; community assemblage; dilution effect; host diversity; transmission competence

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Barasona, J.A.; Gortázar, C.; de la Fuente, J.; Vicente, J. Host Richness Increases Tuberculosis Disease Risk in Game-Managed Areas. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 182.

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