Transmission modelling of environmentally persistent zoonotic diseases: a systematic review

01 Jul 2021

Transmission of many infectious diseases depends on interactions between humans, animals, and the environment. Incorporating these complex processes in transmission dynamic models can help inform policy and disease control interventions. We identified 20 diseases involving environmentally persistent pathogens (ie, pathogens that survive for more than 48 h in the environment and can cause subsequent human infections), of which indirect transmission can occur from animals to humans via the environment. Using a systematic approach, we critically appraised dynamic transmission models for environmentally persistent zoonotic diseases to quantify traits of models across diseases. 210 transmission modelling studies were identified and most studies considered diseases of domestic animals or high-income settings, or both. We found that less than half of studies validated their models to real-world data, and environmental data on pathogen persistence was rarely incorporated. Model structures varied, with few studies considering the animal–human–environment interface of transmission in the context of a One Health framework. This Review highlights the need for more data-driven modelling of these diseases and a holistic One Health approach to model these pathogens to inform disease prevention and control strategies.