Impediments to Wildlife Disease Surveillance, Research, and Diagnostics

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There is a recognized need for increased wildlife disease surveillance and research related to understanding the epidemiology and control of emerging wildlife and zoonotic diseases. Although both passive and active surveillance strategies can and have been effectively used with wildlife, some unique problems are often encountered. These can include limitations related to case acquisition and under-reporting, difficulty in designing sampling strategies that adequately represent the population of interest, the lack of properly validated diagnostic tests, problems related to data interpretation due to missing or inaccurate denominator data, and the lack of an existing wildlife surveillance infrastructure. Many of these same problems are often encountered in field research, which can be further complicated by the complexity and scale of the natural systems in which this work takes place. Although such studies may be difficult, there are numerous examples of success and our understanding of wildlife and wildlife-related zoonotic and emerging disease continues to grow.