Urban-adapted mammal species have more known pathogens [article]

Gregory F Albery, Colin J Carlson, Lily E Cohen, Evan A Eskew, Rory Gibb, Sadie J Ryan, Amy R Sweeny, Daniel J Becker
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Mammals that regularly inhabit urban environments may have more frequent contact with humans and therefore host more known zoonotic pathogens. Here, we test this prediction using a consolidated dataset of phenotypic traits, urban affiliate status, and pathogen diversity, across 3004 mammal species. We show that urban-adapted mammals have more documented pathogens - and more zoonoses - even when considering a correlated suite of phenotypic, taxonomic, and geographic predictors. However, contrary
more » ... to predictions, path analysis revealed that urban-adapted species do not host more zoonoses than expected given their total observed pathogen richness. We conclude that extended historical contact with humans has had a limited impact on the number of observed zoonoses in urban-adapted mammals. Instead, their greater observed zoonotic richness likely reflects either sampling bias due to greater cultural awareness and physical proximity to humans, or increased baseline pathogen diversity arising from the physiological and ecological consequences of urban living.
doi:10.1101/2021.01.02.425084 fatcat:bjfynfd46vdszinftibpbzspni