Challenges in modelling the dynamics of infectious diseases at the wildlife–human interface

Mick Roberts, Andrew Dobson, Olivier Restif, Konstans Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The Covid-19 pandemic is of zoonotic origin, and many other emerging infections of humans have their origin in an animal host population. We review the challenges involved in modelling the dynamics of wildlife–human interfaces governing infectious disease emergence and spread. We argue that we need a better understanding of the dynamic nature of such interfaces, the underpinning diversity of pathogens and host–pathogen association networks, and the scales and frequencies at which environmental conditions enable spillover and host shifting from animals to humans to occur. The major drivers of the emergence of zoonoses are anthropogenic, including the global change in climate and land use. These, and other ecological processes pose challenges that must be overcome to counterbalance pandemic risk. The development of more detailed and nuanced models will provide better tools for analysing and understanding infectious disease emergence and spread.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100523
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology


  • Climate change
  • Ecological dynamics
  • Ecological invasions
  • Spillover
  • Zoonoses


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