About this Research Topic
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a significant zoonotic pathogen with a global distribution, and a considerable economic impact. It has a notoriously complex epidemiology, varying by affected region and often involving multiple-host species.
Whilst much knowledge of the disease has been gleaned from intra-national research programmes, much remains unknown, with many factors potentially impeding eradication. Such impediments may include: a lack of basic understanding of transmission mechanisms and multi-host dynamics; limitations of diagnostic tests; lack of clarity around benefits of vaccination in hosts; lack of knowledge of ‘external’ factors like environmental maintenance of the pathogen; genetic effects on host susceptibility and infectiousness; genetic variation of the pathogen affecting virulence and transmissibility; variations in political and social contexts and their effects; practically defining “success” at a policy level, and integrating sustainable disease metrics into long-term eradication schemes; a lack of veterinary health infrastructure.
We propose that an international-comparative approach may help to generate new hypotheses and strategies for research and intervention, thereby overcoming some of the barriers described. On the one hand, much can be learned from the experiences of countries who have successfully eradicated bovine tuberculosis or restricted its prevalence, whilst conversely, countries with on-going endemic problems may have novel insights / methods that clarify the complex epidemiology of the disease.
Specifically, in this topic, we will therefore be seeking:
1 - Comparative reviews of bTB control and epidemiology at varying temporal and spatial scales.
2 - Novel hypotheses / research ideas / opinions that seek to underpin new research directions designed to untangle current unknowns in disease epidemiology.
3 - New research directed towards improving our knowledge of disease epidemiology. Specifically, we encourage the submission of papers that can address a number of aspects of the control of bTB, including classical epidemiological and molecular epidemiological studies of the pathogen; the host genetics of domestic stock; and the socio-economics of disease control and successful eradication.
4 - Veterinary and medical case studies in multiple host species including humans.
We hope therefore to attract an international collection of papers that address both national and international factors impacting on the epidemiology and control of bovine tuberculosis. In doing so, this research topic will provide a forum which may generate a greater understanding of the disease in a wider context, and inform future eradication efforts through the design of more effective interventions.
In this Research Topic, we propose to attract a collection of papers that address both national and international factors impacting on the epidemiology and control of bovine tuberculosis within both domestic (namely, cattle, buffalo, camelids) and wildlife species (e.g. deer, lions, European badgers, Possum). We encourage the submission of papers across a number of research areas, including classical epidemiological (e.g. spatio-temporal models; risk factor analyses; trade-, spatial-, and social-network modelling) and molecular epidemiological (e.g. phylogeography, phylodynamics) studies of the pathogen; the host genetics of domestic stock; and the social science and socio-economics of disease control and successful eradication. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are encouraged, including case studies and discussion pieces that provide insight into successful and unsuccessful eradication efforts, with lessons to be learned for stakeholders, academics and policy makers attempting to control the disease in a number of different settings.
Keywords: Mycobacteria, wildlife disease, epidemiology, disease control, eradication
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