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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Can plastic pollution drive the emergence and dissemination of novel zoonotic diseases?
Author(s): Ormsby, Michael J.
Woodford, Luke
Quilliam, Richard S.
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Keywords: Horizontal gene transfer
Human health
Waste management
Issue Date: Apr-2024
Date Deposited: 19-Jan-2024
Citation: Ormsby MJ, Woodford L & Quilliam RS (2024) Can plastic pollution drive the emergence and dissemination of novel zoonotic diseases?. <i>Environmental Research</i>, 246, Art. No.: 118172.
Abstract: As the volume of plastic in the environment increases, so too does human interactions with plastic pollution. Similarly, domestic, feral, and wild animals are increasingly interacting with plastic pollution, highlighting the potential for contamination of plastic wastes with animal faeces, urine, saliva, and blood. Substantial evidence indicates that once in the environment, plastics rapidly become colonised by microbial biofilm (the so-called ‘plastisphere), which often includes potentially harmful microbial pathogens (including pathogens that are zoonotic in nature). Climate change, increased urbanisation, and the intensification of agriculture, mean that the three-way interactions between humans, animals, and plastic pollution are becoming more frequent, which is significant as almost 60% of emerging human infectious diseases during the last century have been zoonotic. Here, we critically review the potential for contaminated environmental plastics to facilitate the evolution of novel pathogenic strains of microorganisms, and the subsequent role of plastic pollution in the cyclical dissemination of zoonotic pathogens. As the interactions between humans, animals, and plastic pollution continues to grow, and the volume of plastics entering the environment increases, there is clearly an urgent need to better understand the role of plastic waste in facilitating zoonotic pathogen evolution and dissemination, and the effect this can have on environmental and human health.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.envres.2024.118172
Rights: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article. To request permission for a type of use not listed, please contact Elsevier Global Rights Department.
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