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Infectious diseases in wildlife

Infectous diseases in wildlife. Photo: Jonas Malmsten/SVA

Moose is one of the species investigated in wildlife research. Photo: Jonas Malmsten/SVA

Research at SVA within the area infectious diseases in wildlife includes a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites in several projects. Wildlife species investigated include mammals, birds, fish and shellfish. The research topics vary over time and depend on the current disease situation in the country and the need of deeper knowledge.

To be able to choose the most important research topics, information is collected continuously, mostly through passive surveillance. This is achieved by performing necropsies on euthanized diseased wild animals or wild animals found dead, reports delivered by the public throughout the country, and by keeping up to date with infectious diseases in wildlife in other countries. Wild-living fish and shellfish many times live in close contact with farmed fish in open cages posing a risk for transmission of diseases in both directions.

There are a variety of infectious agents that affect many wildlife species, and might cause disease of variable severity. The pathogen might cause disease in many individuals and affect the population of that species. Some pathogens are also able to infect several different wildlife species, thereby spreading the disease further. A pathogen may also have been recently introduced into the country, a certain area or in a new wildlife species. It is often in these circumstances research is of greatest interest.

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