Sarcoptic mange: An emerging panzootic in wildlife

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
By: , and 



Sarcoptic mange, a skin infestation caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is an emerging disease for some species of wildlife, potentially jeopardizing their welfare and conservation. Sarcoptes scabiei has a near-global distribution facilitated by its forms of transmission and use of a large diversity of host species (many of those with broad geographic distribution). In this review, we synthesize the current knowledge concerning the geographic and host taxonomic distribution of mange in wildlife, the epidemiological connections between species, and the potential threat of sarcoptic mange for wildlife conservation. Recent sarcoptic mange outbreaks in wildlife appear to demonstrate ongoing geographic spread, increase in the number of hosts and increased virulence. Sarcoptic mange has been reported in at least 12 orders, 39 families and 148 species of domestic and wild mammals, making it one of the most generalist ectoparasites of mammals. Taxonomically, the orders with most species found infested so far include Perissodactyla (67% species from the entire order), Artiodactyla (47%), and Diprotodontia (67% from this order). This suggests that new species from these mammal orders are likely to suffer cross-species transmission and be reported positive to sarcoptic mange as surveillance improves. We propose a new agenda for the study of sarcoptic mange in wildlife, including the study of the global phylogeography of S. scabiei, linkages between ecological host traits and sarcoptic mange susceptibility, immunology of individuals and species, development of control strategies in wildlife outbreaks and the effects of global environmental change in the sarcoptic mange system. The ongoing transmission globally and sustained spread among areas and wildlife species make sarcoptic mange an emerging panzootic in wildlife. A better understanding of sarcoptic mange could illuminate the aspects of ecological and evolutionary drivers in cross-species transmission for many emerging diseases.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sarcoptic mange: An emerging panzootic in wildlife
Series title Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
DOI 10.1111/tbed.14082
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
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