Public-health issues regarding zoological collections and free-ranging wildlife have historically been linked to the risk of transmission of zoonotic diseases and accidents relating to bites or injection of venom or toxins by venomous animals. It is only recently that major consideration has been given worldwide to the role of the veterinary profession in contributing to investigating zoonotic diseases in free-ranging wildlife and integrating the concept of public health into the management activities of game preserves and wildlife parks. At the veterinary undergraduate level, courses in basic epidemiology, which should include outbreak investigation and disease surveillance, but also in population medicine, in infectious and parasitic diseases (especially new and emerging or re-emerging zoonoses), and in ecology should be part of the core curriculum. Foreign diseases, especially dealing with zoonotic diseases that are major threats because of possible agro-terrorism or spread of zoonoses, need to be taught in veterinary college curricula. Furthermore, knowledge of the principles of ecology and ecosystems should be acquired either during pre-veterinary studies or, at least, at the beginning of the veterinary curriculum. At the post-graduate level, master's degrees in preventive veterinary medicine, ecology and environmental health, or public health with an emphasis on infectious diseases should be offered to veterinarians seeking job opportunities in public health and wildlife management.
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