The rate at which epidemics of zoonotic disease in humans have surfaced over the past 25 years has shaken – some would say shattered – the assumption that zoonotic diseases are under control, says Paul Gibbs. In this review he analyses the global factors that have led to the increased emergence of zoonotic diseases, sketches several recent epidemics (and where relevant, their relationship to bioterrorism), discusses the lessons learned, and concludes by outlining an agenda for action
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• This article is based on the Wooldridge Memorial Lecture given by Professor Gibbs at this year’s BVA Congress, held at the Royal Society of Medicine from September 30 to October 1. While it attempts to be global in scope, the perspective inevitably draws upon the experience of the author in living both in the UK and the USA, strengthened by visits to many of the countries from which the diseases discussed in the review have emerged
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