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Zoonosis : prospects and challenges for medical anthropology

By Frédéric Keck, Christos Lynteris

Category Journal Articles

In recent years anthropologists have shown an increasing interest in ‘zoonoses’: diseases naturally transmitted from nonhuman animals to humans, such as anthrax, brucellosis, influenza, hantavirus syndromes, Middle East respiratory syndrome, plague, and rabies. Animal-derived epidemic crises such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) (1996), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (2003), swine flu (2009), and Ebola (2014) outbreaks have further fuelled research and debate around this type of infectious disease. In this flourishing ethnographic trajectory, zoonotic diseases and outbreaks have been approached by a wide array of analytical perspectives. Positioned and enriched by concurrent developments in biosecurity studies, critical animal studies, and debates around the notion of the Anthropocene, anthropological research has focused on discourses and practices relating to human-animal relations as sites of medical, epidemiological and public health problematisation, intervention, and contestation. Breaking new ground in this research trail, this special issue aims to foster anthropological debate by focusing on the animal-human link that forms the aetiological site of zoonotic infection. The articles in this issue provide robust ethnographic and historicalanthropological studies of human-animal relations, as both revealed and transformed by the medical focus on zoonosis. We thus aim to bring medical anthropology together with animal studies in ways that highlight the contribution of anthropology to interdisciplinary research on zoonoses and the impact of this research on contemporary practices of global health.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Publication Title Medicine Anthropology Theory
Volume 5
Issue 3
Pages 14
DOI 10.17157/mat.5.3.372
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Anthropology
  4. Health
  5. open access
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. Zoonoses
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed