To assess the status of research on wildlife diseases in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and to identify trends, knowledge gaps, and directions for future research, we reviewed epidemiologic publications on wildlife-associated diseases in the ROK. We identified a relatively small but rapidly increasing body of literature. The majority of publications were focused on public or livestock health and relatively few addressed wildlife health. Most studies that focused on human and livestock health were cross-sectional whereas wildlife health studies were mostly case reports. Fifteen diseases notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health were identified and 21 diseases were identified as notifiable to either the Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare or the Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Two diseases were reported as occurring as epidemics; highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and virulent Newcastle disease. Six diseases or disease agents were described in the literature as emerging including HPAI, rabies, Babesia microti, avian coronaviruses, scrub typhus, and severe fever thrombocytopenia syndrome virus. The diseases for which there were the largest number of publications were HPAI and rabies. The majority of wildlife-associated zoonotic disease publications focused on food-borne parasitic infections or rodent-associated diseases. Several publications focused on the potential of wildlife as reservoirs of livestock diseases; in particular, Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). In contrast, there were few publications on diseases of concern for wildlife populations or research to understand the impacts of these diseases for wildlife management. Increased focus on prospective studies would enhance understanding of disease dynamics in wildlife populations. For the high-consequence diseases that impact multiple sectors, a One Health approach, with coordination among the public health, agricultural, and environmental sectors, would be important. This type of review can provide useful information for countries or regions planning or implementing national wildlife health programs.
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Vol. 53 • No. 1