Pathogens transmitted in animal feces in low- and middle-income countries

Miranda J. Delahoy, Breanna Wodnik, Lydia McAliley, Gauthami Penakalapati, Jenna Swarthout, Matthew C. Freeman, Karen Levy

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículo de revisiónrevisión exhaustiva

103 Citas (Scopus)


Animals found in close proximity to humans in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) harbor many pathogens capable of infecting humans, transmissible via their feces. Contact with animal feces poses a currently unquantified—though likely substantial—risk to human health. In LMIC settings, human exposure to animal feces may explain some of the limited success of recent water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions that have focused on limiting exposure to human excreta, with less attention to containing animal feces. We conducted a review to identify pathogens that may substantially contribute to the global burden of disease in humans through their spread in animal feces in the domestic environment in LMICs. Of the 65 potentially pathogenic organisms considered, 15 were deemed relevant, based on burden of disease and potential for zoonotic transmission. Of these, five were considered of highest concern based on a substantial burden of disease for which transmission in animal feces is potentially important: Campylobacter, non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS), Lassa virus, Cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasma gondii. Most of these have a wide range of animal hosts, except Lassa virus, which is spread through the feces of rats indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. Combined, these five pathogens cause close to one million deaths annually. More than half of these deaths are attributed to invasive NTS. We do not estimate an overall burden of disease from improperly managed animal feces in LMICs, because it is unknown what proportion of illnesses caused by these pathogens can be attributed to contact with animal feces. Typical water quantity, water quality, and handwashing interventions promoted in public health and development address transmission routes for both human and animal feces; however, sanitation interventions typically focus on containing human waste, often neglecting the residual burden of disease from pathogens transmitted via animal feces. This review compiles evidence on which pathogens may contribute to the burden of disease through transmission in animal feces; these data will help prioritize intervention types and regions that could most benefit from interventions aimed at reducing human contact with animal feces.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)661-676
Número de páginas16
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
EstadoPublicada - may. 2018
Publicado de forma externa


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