Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

CABI Book Chapter

Invasive species and human health.

Book cover for Invasive species and human health.


This book, which consists of 11 chapters, highlights the major impact of invasive alien plants and animals on human health. This includes not only direct effects through contact with the species via bites, wounds and disease, but also indirect effects caused by changes induced in ecosystems by invasive species, such as more water hyacinth increasing mosquito levels and thereby the potential for ma...

Chapter 9 (Page no: 120)

Do alien free-ranging birds affect human health? A global summary of known zoonoses.

Non-native birds are prominent among alien taxa, with at least 415 species established outside their natural distribution ranges. Impacts of introduced birds on human health have received little attention up to now, despite previous works suggesting that disease transmission is a major impact exerted by introduced bird species. Our synthesis reveals that at least 42 species of introduced birds may represent a hazard to human well-being. Among those, most are Psittaciformes, Columbiformes and Anseriformes, species that frequently occur in urban areas, partly because of their popularity as pets and ornamental species. The main zoonoses potentially brought by these birds include psittacosis, cryptococcosis, listeriosis and salmonellosis, transmitted by direct contact or via arthropod vectors (fleas, lice, ticks and mites). Many Galliformes introduced for hunting purposes can lead to salmonellosis and other gastroenteric diseases in humans. Non-native birds can threaten human health through bird-strikes around airports and through noise pollution by species sharing colonial roosts. While we found that alien birds can theoretically transmit several diseases to humans, empirical case studies of disease outbreaks linked to alien birds are rare or non-existent. The synergistic impacts of ongoing species introductions and global climate change may increase the risk of health hazards in the future. Therefore, sanitary monitoring of traded birds, mainly of the most synanthropic and game species released for human consumption would be prudent. Strict attention should be paid to alien bird populations already established within urban areas, to verify their role in affecting human health and well-being.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Poisonous and venomous: marine alien species in the Mediterranean Sea and human health. Author(s): Galil, B.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 16) Invasive alien plant impacts on human health and well-being. Author(s): Lazzaro, L., Essl, F., Lugliè, A., Padedda, B. M., Pyšek, P., Brundu, G.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 34) Human health impact by alien spiders and scorpions. Author(s): Nentwig, W.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 49) Ticks and dust mites: invasive and health-affecting borderline organisms. Author(s): Simoni, S., Grandi, G.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 63) Bugs, ants, wasps, moths and other insect species. Author(s): Roques, A., Preda, C., Augustin, S., Auger-Rozenberg, M. A.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 76) The invasive mosquitoes of medical importance. Author(s): Romi, R., Boccolini, D., Luca, M. di, Medlock, J. M., Schaffner, F., Severini, F., Toma, L.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 91) Invasive freshwater invertebrates and fishes: impacts on human health. Author(s): Souty-Grosset, C., Anastácio, P., Reynolds, J., Tricarico, E.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 108) Risks for human health related to invasive alien reptiles and amphibians. Author(s): Pauwels, O. S. G., Pantchev, N.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 130) Impact of alien mammals on human health. Author(s): Capizzi, D., Monaco, A., Genovesi, P., Scalera, R., Carnevali, L.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 151) Climate change and increase of impacts on human health by alien species. Author(s): Schindler, S., Rabitsch, W., Essl, F.