Abstract for: Food systems and zoonotic disease: mapping the role of wildlife in China, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo

In order to stem the increasing incidence of zoonotic spillover events from wildlife populations, various policies governing the animal-human interface have been proposed and implemented. A substantial proportion of the animal-human interface is situated within the food system, including hunting, rearing, trading and consuming both wild and domesticated species. This makes food system policy a potentially crucial tool in reducing the risk of zoonotic spillover events. While preventing emerging zoonoses is key to protecting the health of human populations, the food system is composed of multiple, interacting pathways and may be thought of as a complex adaptive system. Understanding the underlying structure of the system driving zoonotic spillover events is key to effective intervention. The aims of the study were: to map the system driving increasing incidence of spillover of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife to humans; to identify examples of archetypal system behaviour driving this increasing incidence; and to generate hypotheses around the potential consequences, both intended and unintended, of policy interventions on zoonotic spillover events as well as food systems and their outcomes, including nutrition, livelihoods, food security and food culture.