A framework for evaluating animals as sentinels for infectious disease surveillance

Evaluating animals as sentinels for infectious disease surveillance

The dynamics of infectious diseases are highly variable. Host ranges, host responses to
pathogens and the relationships between hosts are heterogeneous. Here, we argue that the use
of animal sentinels has the potential to use this variation and enable the exploitation of a wide
range of pathogen hosts for surveillance purposes. Animal sentinels may be used to address
many surveillance questions, but they may currently be underused as a surveillance tool and
there is a need for improved interdisciplinary collaboration and communication in order to
fully explore the potential of animal sentinels. In different contexts, different animal hosts
will themselves vary in their capacity to provide useful information. We describe a
conceptual framework within which the characteristics of different host populations and their
potential value as sentinels can be evaluated in a broad range of settings

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