The emergence of novel zoonotic pathogens is one of the greatest challenges to global health security. The advent of increasingly sophisticated diagnostics tools has revolutionized our capacity to detect and respond to these health threats more rapidly than ever before. Yet, no matter how sophisticated these tools become, the initial identification of emerging infectious diseases begins at the local community level. It is here that the initial human or animal case resides, and it is here that early pathogen detection would have maximum benefit. Unfortunately, many areas at highest risk of zoonotic disease emergence lack sufficient infrastructure capacity to support robust laboratory diagnostic systems. Multiple factors are essential for pathogen detection networks, including an understanding of the complex sociological and ecological factors influencing disease transmission risk, community engagement, surveillance along high-risk human-animal interfaces, and a skilled laboratory workforce. Here we discuss factors relevant to the emerging disease paradigm, recent technical advances in diagnostic methods, and strategies for comprehensive and sustainable approaches to rapid zoonotic disease detection.


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