Changes in species distributions open novel parasite transmission routes at the human–wildlife interface, yet the strength of biotic and biogeographical factors that prevent or facilitate parasite host shifting are not well understood. We investigated global patterns of helminth parasite (Nematoda, Cestoda, Trematoda) sharing between mammalian wildlife species and domestic mammal hosts (including humans) using >24,000 unique country‐level records of host–parasite associations. We used hierarchical modelling and species trait data to determine possible drivers of the level of parasite sharing between wildlife species and either humans or domestic animal hosts. We found the diet of wildlife species to be a strong predictor of levels of helminth parasite sharing with humans and domestic animals, followed by a moderate effect of zoogeographical region and minor effects of species’ habitat and climatic niches. Combining model predictions with the distribution and ecological profile data of wildlife species, we projected global risk maps that uncovered strikingly similar patterns of wildlife parasite sharing across geographical areas for the different domestic host species (including humans). These similarities are largely explained by the fact that widespread parasites are commonly recorded infecting several domestic species. If the dietary profile and position in the trophic chain of a wildlife species largely drives its level of helminth parasite sharing with humans/domestic animals, future range shifts of host species that result in novel trophic interactions may likely increase parasite host shifting and have important ramifications for human and animal health.
Global Change Biology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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