Skip to main content

Contact rates and exposure to inter-species disease transmission in mountain ungulates

  • C. RICHOMME (a1), D. GAUTHIER (a2) and E. FROMONT (a3)

The risk for a pathogen to cross the species barrier depends on the rate of efficient contacts between the species. However, contact rates between species have rarely been estimated from observations. Here we estimate contact rates and exposure of chamois Rupicapra rupicapra and Alpine ibex Capra ibex exposed to domestic pasteurellosis and brucellosis carried by sheep or cattle herds summering in mountain pastures. We use field observation data on animal positions treated in a geographic information system (GIS). Comparing 10 pastures, we show that the management of domestic herds influences the risk of inter-species transmission. Exposure to direct transmission of pasteurellosis is high when herds are not guarded nor enclosed, whereas exposure to indirect transmission of brucellosis is increased on epidemiological dangerous points such as salt deposits. Our preliminary results need further investigation, but they underline the importance of both herd management and pathogen transmission mode when the aim is to reduce the risk of contamination of wild populations by a pathogen associated with domestic pathogens.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr E. Fromont, UMR 5558 Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Bâtiment Mendel 1er étage, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 43 bd du 11 novembre 1918, 69622Villeurbanne Cedex, France. (Email:
Hide All
1.Thorne, ET, Williams, ES. Disease and endangered species: the black-footed ferret as a recent example. Conserv Biol 1988; 2: 6674.
2.Simonetti, JA. Wildlife conservation outside parks is a disease-mediated task. Conserv Biol 1995; 9: 454456.
3.Ostherhaus, A. Catastrophes after crossing species barriers. Proc R Soc Lond B 2001; 356: 791793.
4.Lafferty, KD, Gerber, LR. Good medicine for conservation biology: the intersection of epidemiology and conservation theory. Conserv Biol 2002; 16: 593604.
5.Combes, C. Parasitism: ecology and evolution of intimate interactions, 552 pp. Chicago University Press, 2001.
6.Cleaveland, S, Laurenson, MK, Taylor, LH. Diseases of humans and their domestic mammals: pathogen characteristics, host range and the risk of emergence. Proc R Soc Lond B 2001; 356: 991999.
7.Woolhouse, MEJ, Taylor, LH, Haydon, DT. Population biology of multihost pathogens. Science 2001; 292: 11091112.
8.Loehle, C. Social barriers to pathogen transmission in wild animal populations. Ecology 1995; 76: 326335.
9.Courtenay, O, Quinnell, RJ, Chalmers, WSK. Contact rates between wild and domestic canids: no evidence of parvovirus or canine distemper virus in crab-eating foxes. Vet Microbiol 2001; 81: 919.
10.Sauter, CM, Morris, RS. Behavioural studies on the potential for direct transmission of tuberculosis from feral ferrets (Mustela furo) and possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) to farmed livestock. N Z Vet J 1999; 43: 294300.
11.Hutchings, MR, Harris, S. Quantifying the risks of TB infection to cattle caused by badger excreta. Epidemiol Infect 1999; 122: 167174.
12.Hudson, PJ, Rizzoli, A, Grenfell, BT, Heesterbeek, H, Dobson, AP. The ecology of wildlife diseases, 187 pp. Oxford University Press, 2002.
13.Foreyt, WJ, Jessup, DA. Fatal pneumonia of bighorn sheep following association with domestic sheep. J Wildl Dis 1982; 18: 163168.
14.Callan, RJ, Bunch, TD, Workman, GW, Mock, RE. Development of pneumonia in desert bighorn sheep after exposure to a flock of exotic wild and domestic sheep. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1991; 198: 10521056.
15.Frölich, K, Thiede, S, Kozikowski, T, Jakob, W. A review of mutual transmission of important infectious diseases between livestock and wildlife in Europe. Ann NY Acad Sci 2002; 969: 413.
16.Casamitjana, P. Respiratory disease in sheep. Bulletin des GTV 1994; 3: 126136.
17.Gilmour, NJL. Pasteurella haemolytica infections in sheep. Vet Q 1980; 2: 191198.
18.Foreyt, WJ. Fatal Pasteurella haemolytica pneumonia in bighorn sheep after direct contact with clinically normal domestic sheep. Am J Vet Res 1989; 50: 341344.
19.Foreyt, WJ, Snipes, KP, Kasten, RW. Fatal pneumonia following inoculation of healthy bighorn sheep with Pasteurella haemolytica from healthy domestic sheep. J Wildl Dis 1994; 30: 137145.
20.Sweeney, SJ, Silflow, RM, Foreyt, WJ. Comparative leukotoxicities of Pasteurella haemolytica isolates from domestic sheep and free-ranging bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). J Wildl Dis 1994; 30: 523528.
21.Pairaudeau, C, Moulin, A, Prave, M, Gastellu, J, Hars, J, Joubert, L. About two outbreaks in the National Park of Vanoise: infectious keratoconjunctivitis in chamois and pneumonia in chamois and Alpine ibex. Travaux scientifique du Parc National de la Vanoise 1977; VIII: 157172.
22.Grattarola, C, Ferroglio, E, Rossi, L. Preliminary study on pneumonia in chamois. Bulletin d'Information sur la Pathologie des Animaux Sauvages 1998; 18: 7180.
23.Garin-Bastiji, B. Brucellosis of cattle, sheep and goats: control and prevention. Point Vét 1993; 25: 1522.
24.Garin-Bastiji, B, Delcueillerie, F. Human and animal brucellosis in France in 2000. Epidemiological situation – control and eradication programmes. Méd Mal Infect 2001; 31: 202216.
25.Ferroglio, E, Tolar, F, Bollo, E, Bassano, B. Isolation of Brucella melitensis from Alpine ibex. J Wildl Dis 1998; 34: 400402.
26.Gauthier, D, Hars, J, Rossi, L. Brucellosis in free ranging chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and its relationships with domestic breeding. Third Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association. Edinburgh, Scotland, 1998.
27.Pilar-Izquierdo, M. Modalities of cohabitation between domestic livestock and wild ungulates in the National Reserve of wildlife, Les Bauge, 74pp. [post-doctoral report]. Chambéry, France: Laboratoire Départemental Vétérinaire, 2000.
28.Ternois, E. Pathogenic agent's transmission between domestic and wild ungulates, 227 pp. [thesis]. Nantes, France: Veterinary Faculty, 2003.
29.Durand, T. Mountain livestock breeding and wildlife, 144pp. [report]. Chambéry, France: Parc National de la Vanoise, 1997.
30.Léna, F. Wild ungulates and mountain livestock breedings: spatial and sanitary relationships. 179 pp. [thesis]. Lyon, France: Veterinary Faculty, 2002.
31.Jenness, J. Nearest Features, with Distances and Bearings (v. 3.7a). Script for Arcview (http;// Accessed August 2002.
32.Dixon, D, Rudolph, K, Cowen, L, Hunter, DL, Ward, ACS. Viability of air-borne Pasteurella spp. Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council 13. Rapid City, South Dakota, USA 2002: 23–24 April.
33.Gilmour, MI, Wathes, CM, Taylor, FG. The airborne survival of Pasteurella haemolytica and its deposition in and clearance from the mouse lung. Vet Microbiol 1990; 21: 363375.
34.Adlam, C, Rutter, JM. Pasteurella and Pasteurellosis. New York: Academic Press, 1989.
35.Rowe, HA, Poxton, IR, Donachie, W. Survival of Manheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica in tracheobronchial washing of sheep and cattle. Vet Microbiol 2001; 81: 305314.
36.Sisay, T, Zerihun, A. Diversity of Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella trehalosi serotypes from apparently healthy sheep and abattoir specimens in the highlands of Wollo, north east Ethiopia. Vet Res Com 2003; 27: 314.
37.Lebreton, P, Lebrun, P, Martinot, JP, Miquet, A, Tournier, H. Ecological approach to the Vanoise avifauna. Travaux Scientifiques du Parc National de la Vanoise 1999; XXI: 7304.
38.Sokal, RR, Rohlf, FJ. Biometry, 3rd edn, 887 pp. New York: Freeman and Co, 1995.
39.Gauthier, D, Durand, T. Relationships between mountain livestock breeding and wild ungulates' health in National Park of Vanoise. In: Proceedings of the Second European Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association. Wroclaw Poland, 1996: 1621. la Rocque, S, Michel, JF, Cuisance, D, et al. Satellite to microsatellite – the trypanosomosis risk: a global approach for a local decision, 151 pp. CIRAD, Montpellier, France, 2001.
41.Toma, B, Dufour, B, Saana, M, Bénet, JJ, Shaw, A, Moutou, F, Louza, A. Applied veterinary epidemiology and the control of disease in populations. 2nd edn.696 pp. Paris, FranceA.E.E.M.A. Ed, 2001.
42.Chatelier, N. Study of infectious keratoconjunctivitis in Alpine ibex (Capra ibex ibex), 61 pp. [report]. Chambéry, France: DEA Gestion des espaces montagnards, University, 1999.
43.Nishi, JS, Stephen, C, Elkin, BT. Implications of agricultural and wildlife policy on management and eradication of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in free-ranging wood bison of northern Canada. Ann NY Acad Sci 2002; 969: 236244.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 23 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 189 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.