Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (5): 566-578.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020124

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Problems and countermeasures in the surveillance and research of wildlife epidemics based on mammals in China

Zhishu Xiao1,9,*(),Libiao Zhang2,Lei Xu3,4,Qihai Zhou5,Xiuxiang Meng6,Chuan Yan7,Gang Chang8   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents in Agriculture, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization, Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and Utilization, Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resources, Guangzhou 510260
    3 State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206
    4 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084
    5 Key Laboratory of Ecology of Rare and Endangered Species and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Education, Guangxi Key Laboratory of Rare and Endangered Animal Ecology, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin, Guangxi 541004
    6 School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872
    7 Institute of Innovation Ecology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000
    8 Shaanxi Key Laboratory for Animal Conservation, Shaanxi Institute of Zoology, Xi’an 710032
    9 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2020-03-28 Accepted:2020-05-05 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-06-23
  • Contact: Zhishu Xiao


Recent epidemics, such as the COVID-2019 pandemic, SARS, and rodent plague, pose a major threat to public health, food security, and ecosystem balance globally. These epidemics have all been caused, directly or indirectly, by pathogens found in mammals or other animal vectors. Based on the status of recent terrestrial wildlife epidemics in China, this study summarizes the regulatory and monitoring mechanisms for 24 important diseases occurring in wild mammals, captive breeding wild animals, and domesticated mammals in China, and then identifies gaps in regulation and knowledge for these zoonotic diseases in China. Due to the diversity of pathogens and their transmission routes, these zoonotic diseases have had frequent outbreaks in recent decades, and preventing and controlling them has become one major challenge. Currently, China’s important wildlife epidemics are monitored and controlled by different levels and directives of multiple governmental agencies. The increasing global trade, poaching, illegal wildlife trade, illegal wildlife captive breeding, consumption of wild animals, and lax quarantine processes have led to complex chains of transmission, increasing risk of contact, infection, and transmission of these diseases. Additionally, the frequent occurrence of extreme climate events or natural disasters further complicate the prevention and control of these wildlife epidemics at their sources. Based on these problems in managing and controlling new and recurrent epidemics in China, we propose some countermeasures and suggestions to strengthen basic research and whole-chain supervision in order to actively prevent terrestrial wildlife epidemics.

Key words: wildlife epidemics, mammals, prevention and control of epidemic focus and disease, gap analysis, basic research, whole-chain supervision