Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health

Author(s):  Matthew C. Fisher, Daniel. A. Henk, Cheryl J. Briggs, John S. Brownstein, Lawrence C.
Madoff, Sarah L. McCraw, and Sarah J. Gurr

Publication: Nature

Abstract:  The past two decades have seen an increasing number of virulent infectious diseases in natural
populations and managed landscapes. In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of
fungal and fungal-like diseases have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and
extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security. Human activity is
intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and thus creating new
opportunities for evolution. We argue that nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition
of biodiversity, with wider implications for human and ecosystem health, unless steps are taken to
tighten biosecurity worldwide.