Pathways to zoonotic spillover

Raina K. Plowright, Colin R. Parrish, Hamish McCallum, Peter J. Hudson, Albert I. Ko, Andrea Linn Graham, James O. Lloyd-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

132 Scopus citations

Abstract

Zoonotic spillover, which is the transmission of a pathogen from a vertebrate animal to a human, presents a global public health burden but is a poorly understood phenomenon. Zoonotic spillover requires several factors to align, including the ecological, epidemiological and behavioural determinants of pathogen exposure, and the within-human factors that affect susceptibility to infection. In this Opinion article, we propose a synthetic framework for animal-to-human transmission that integrates the relevant mechanisms. This framework reveals that all zoonotic pathogens must overcome a hierarchical series of barriers to cause spillover infections in humans. Understanding how these barriers are functionally and quantitatively linked, and how they interact in space and time, will substantially improve our ability to predict or prevent spillover events. This work provides a foundation for transdisciplinary investigation of spillover and synthetic theory on zoonotic transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-510
Number of pages9
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases

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    Plowright, R. K., Parrish, C. R., McCallum, H., Hudson, P. J., Ko, A. I., Graham, A. L., & Lloyd-Smith, J. O. (2017). Pathways to zoonotic spillover. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 15(8), 502-510. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro.2017.45