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Review Article

Wildlife-associated zoonotic diseases in some southern African countries in relation to game meat safety: A review

Johan L. Bekker, Louw C. Hoffman, Piet J. Jooste

Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research; Vol 79, No 1 (2012), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/ojvr.v79i1.422

Submitted: 29 February 2012
Published:  05 December 2012


With on-going changes in land use practices from conventional livestock farming to commercial, wildlife-based activities, the interface or interaction between livestock and wildlife is increasing. As part of the wildlife-based activities of ecotourism, breeding and hunting, game farmers are also exploring the utilisation of meat from hunted or harvested game. The expanding interface or increased interaction between livestock and wildlife increases the risk of disease incidence and the emergence of new diseases or the re-emergence of previously diagnosed diseases. The risk is not only related to domestic and wild animal health, but also to the occupational hazards that it poses to animal handlers and the consumers of game meat. This review endeavours to highlight the role that game plays in the spreading of zoonotic diseases to other animals and humans. Examples of zoonotic diseases that have occurred in wild animals in the past, their relevance and risk have been summarised and should function as a quick reference guide for wildlife veterinarians, ecologists, farmers, hunters, slaughter staff, processors and public health professionals.

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Author affiliations

Johan L. Bekker, Department of Environmental Health, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
Louw C. Hoffman, Department of Animal Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Piet J. Jooste, Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa


Zoonosis; game meat safety; venison; zoonotic wildlife diseases; biological occupational hazards


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ISSN: 0030-2465 (print) | ISSN: 2219-0635 (online)

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