European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 697–706 | Cite as

Six recommendations for improving monitoring of diseases shared with wildlife: examples regarding mycobacterial infections in Spain

  • Mariana BoadellaEmail author
  • Christian Gortazar
  • Pelayo Acevedo
  • Tania Carta
  • María Paz Martín-Hernando
  • José de la Fuente
  • Joaquín Vicente


Monitoring is needed to identify changes in disease occurrence and to measure the impact of intervention. Using mycobacterial diseases as an example, we discuss herein the pros and cons of the current Spanish Wildlife Disease Surveillance Scheme providing suggestions for monitoring relevant diseases shared with wildlife in other regions facing similar challenges. Six points should be considered. This includes: (1) making sure the disease is properly monitored in the relevant domestic animals or even in humans; (2) also making sure that background information on wildlife population ecology is available to maximize the benefits of the monitoring effort; (3) selecting the appropriate wildlife hosts for monitoring, while being flexible enough to incorporate new ones if research suggests their participation; (4) selecting the appropriate methods for diagnosis and for time and space trend analysis; (5) deciding which parameters to target for monitoring; and finally (6) establishing a reasonable sampling effort and a suitable sampling stratification to ensure detecting changes over time and changes in response to management actions. Wildlife disease monitoring produces knowledge that benefits at least three different agencies, namely, animal health, public health and conservation, and these should combine efforts and resources. Setting up stable, comprehensive and accurate schemes at different spatial scales should become a priority. Resources are always a limiting factor, but experience shows that combined, cross-collaborative efforts allow establishing acceptable schemes with a low enough cost to be sustainable over time. These six steps for monitoring relevant shared diseases can be adapted to many other geographical settings and different disease situations.


Disease monitoring Paratuberculosis Time trends Tuberculosis Wildlife diseases Zoonoses 



This is a contribution to MCINN Plan Nacional I + D+i research grant AGL2008-03875 and FEDER and to TB-STEP EU grant 212414. Studies on diseases shared between domestic animals and wildlife are also supported by Grupo Santander — Fundación Marcelino Botín. Tania Carta acknowledges a grant from Regione Sardegna, and Pelayo Acevedo and Maria Paz Martín-Hernando acknowledge a Juan de la Cierva (Fondo Social Europeo) and an ISCIII postdoctoral contract from MCINN, respectively. Jose Luis Sáez made valuable comments to the first draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana Boadella
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christian Gortazar
    • 1
  • Pelayo Acevedo
    • 2
  • Tania Carta
    • 1
  • María Paz Martín-Hernando
    • 1
  • José de la Fuente
    • 1
    • 3
  • Joaquín Vicente
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC (CSIC–UCLM–JCCM)Ciudad RealSpain
  2. 2.Biogeography, Diversity, and Conservation Research Team, Animal Biology, Department of SciencesUniversity of MalagaMálagaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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