Understanding pathogen exchange among human, wildlife, and livestock populations, and the varying ecological and cultural contexts in which this exchange takes place, is a major challenge. The present review contextualizes the risk factors that result from human interactions with livestock, companion animals, animal exhibits, wildlife through nature-based tourism, and wildlife through consumption. Given their phylogenetic relatedness to humans, primates are emphasized in this discussion; primates serve as reservoirs for several human pathogens, and some human pathogens can decimate wild primate populations. Anthropologists must play a central role in understanding cultural variation in attitudes toward other species as well as perceived risks when interacting with animals. I argue that the remediation of emerging infectious diseases will be accomplished primarily through human behavioral changes rather than through efforts in pathogen discovery. Given the history of human interactions with wildlife, candid discussions on zoonotic diseases will be increasingly important for our combined survival.


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