Professor Andrew A. Cunningham
Theme Leader (Wildlife Epidemiology)
- BVMS, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, 1987.
- Member, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, 1987.
- PhD, University of London, 2001.
I joined the Institute of Zoology in 1988 as Veterinary Pathologist for the Zoological Society of London; a job which involved carrying out diagnostic pathology on zoo and wild animal species. Since 2001, I have been Head of Wildlife Epidemiology at the IoZ, leading a team of researchers working on wildlife diseases, with particular reference to biodiversity conservation, on a wide range of animal taxa: from snails to whales.
My main area of interest is the study of disease threats to wildlife conservation, although I am also interested in host-parasite interactions and co-evolution, and in wildlife disease and comparative pathology per se.
Currently, one of my main projects is the investigation of catastrophic vulture declines in India with colleagues at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , the Bombay Natural History Society , the Venkateshwara Hatcheries Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre and the National Bird of Prey Centre . Much of this work has been funded by the RSPB and we recently won a grant from the Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species to further our studies on this major ecological and socio-economic problem.
Another area of interest is that of global amphibian population declines: probably one of the most enigmatic and worrying conservation problems of our times. Investigating these is the primary role of the IUCN’s Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force (DAPTF). Since 1997, I have been chair of the pathology and diseases working group of the DAPTF.
In 1996, I was part of an international team that co-discovered a novel chytrid fungus causing a disease of amphibians and in 1997 I co-ordinated international efforts to investigate this further. This culminated in finding that infection with this new type of chytrid fungus is closely associated with global amphibian population declines. In 2000, I was co-awarded a CSIRO medal for this work.
More about work on amphibian diseases and the role of chytridiomycosis in population declines can be found here .
Closer to home, and along with the U.K. charity Froglife , I have been investigating a new epidemic disease of frogs in Britain. Affected frogs die with either systemic haemorrhages or with skin ulceration. Using a variety of traditional and modern pathological techniques, we showed this to be caused by a ranavirus, most probably introduced from North America.
Other active wildlife research interests include infectious and non-infectious diseases of conservation significance, such as parasitic diseases of Polynesian tree snails and BSE-related diseases of zoo animals.
Epstein, J.H., Prakash, V., Smith, C.S., Daszak, P., Jakati, R.D., McLaughlin, A.B., Meehan, G., Field, H.E. and Cunningham, A.A. (2008) Evidence for Henipavirus infection in Indian Pteropus giganteus (Chiroptera; Pteropodidae) fruit bats. Emerging Infectious Diseases 14: 1309-1311. DOI: 10.3201/eid1408.071492.
Hayman, D.T.S., Fooks, A.R., Horton, D., Suu-Ire, R., Breed, A.C., Cunningham, A.A. and Wood, J.L.N. (2008) Antibodies against Lagos bat virus in megachiroptera from West Africa. Emerging Infectious Diseases 14(6): 926-928.
Hayman, D.T.S., Suu-Ire, R., Breed, A.C., McEachern, J.A., Wang, L., Wood, J.L.N. and Cunningham, A.A. (2008) Evidence of Henipavirus infection in West African fruit bats. PLoS One 3(7): e2739. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002739.
Bielby, J., Cooper, N., Cunningham, A.A., Garner, T.W.J. and Purvis, A. (2008) Predicting susceptibility to future declines in the world’s frogs. Conservation Letters 1: 82-90. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00015.x.
Prakash, V., Green, R.E., Pain, D.J., Ranade, S.P., Saravanan, S., Prakash, N., Venkitachalam, R., Cuthbert, R., Rahmani, A.R. and Cunningham, A.A. (2008) Recent changes in populations of resident Gyps vultures in India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 104: 128-135.
Hughes, L.A., Shopland, S., Wigley, P., Bradon, H., Leatherbarrow, A.H., Williams, N.J., Bennett, M., DePinna, E., Lawson, B., Cunningham, A.A. and Chantrey, J. (2008) Characterisation of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium isolates from wild birds in northern England from 2005-2006. BMC Veterinary Research 4. DOI: 10.1186/1746-6148-4-4.
Cunningham, A.A., Hyatt, A.D., Russell, P. and Bennett, P. M. (2007) Experimental transmission of a ranavirus disease of common toads (Bufo bufo) to common frogs (Rana temporaria). Epidemiology and Infection 135: 1213-1216. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268807007935.
Cunningham, A.A., Hyatt, A.D., Russell, P. and Bennett, P.M. (2007) Emerging epidemic diseases of frogs in Britain are dependent on the source of ranavirus agent and the route of exposure. Epidemiology and Infection 135: 1200-1212. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268806007679.
Garcia, G., Cunningham, A.A., Horton, D.L., Garner, T.W.J., Hyatt, A., Hengstberger, S., Lopez, J., Ogrodowczyk, A., Fenton, C. and Fa, J.E. (2007) Mountain chickens Leptodactylus fallax and sympatric amphibians appear to be disease free on Montserrat. Oryx 41(3): 398-401. DOI: 10.1017/S0030605307001012.
Goodman, S. and Cunningham, A.A. (2007) Plan de contingencia para la aparición del virus del oeste del Nilo en Galápagos. Ministerio del Ambiente, Ecuador.
Goodman, S. and Cunningham, A.A. (2007) Plan de contingencia para la emergencia del virus de la influenza aviar en Galápagos. Ministerio del Ambiente, Ecuador.
McLaughlin, A.B., Epstein, J.H., Prakash, V., Smith, C.S., Daszak, P., Field, H.E. and Cunningham, A.A. (2007) Plasma biochemistry and hematologic values for wild-caught flying foxes (Pteropus giganteus) in India. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 38(3): 446-452. DOI: 10.1638/1042-7260(2007)38[446:PBAHVF]2.0.CO;2.
Walker, S.F., Salas, M.B., Jenkins, D., Garner, T.W.J., Cunningham, A.A., Hyatt, A.D., Bosch, J. and Fisher, M.C. (2007) Environmental detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in a temperate climate. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 77: 105-112. DOI: 10.3354/dao01850.
Daszak, P., Epstein, J.H., Kilpatrick, A.M., Aguirre, A.A., Karesh, W.B. and Cunningham, A.A. (2007) Collaborative research approaches to the role of wildlife in zoonotic disease emergence. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 315: 463-475.
Lindenfors, P., Nunn, C.L., Jones, K.E., Cunningham, A.A., Sechrest, W. and Gittleman, J.L. (2007) Parasite species richness in carnivores: Effects of host body mass, latitude, geographic range and population density. Global Ecology and Biogeography 16: 496-509.
Taggart, M.A., Cuthbert, R., Das, D., Sashikumar, C., Pain, D.J., Green, R.E., Feltrer, Y., Shultz, S., Cunningham, A.A. and Meharg, A.A. (2007) Diclofenac disposition in Indian cow and goat with reference to Gyps vulture population declines. Environmental Pollution 147: 60-65.
Kirkwood, J.K. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Portrait of prion diseases in zoo animals. In: Prions in Humans and Animals (edited by B. Hornlimann, D. Riesner and H. Kretzschmar), pp250-256. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin and New York.
Green, R.E., Taggart, M.A., Das, D., Pain, D.J., Kumar, C.S., Cunningham, A.A. and Cuthbert, R. (2006) Collapse of Asian vulture populations: risk of mortality from residues of the veterinary drug diclofenac in carcasses of treated cattle. Journal of Applied Ecology 43: 949-956.
Feltrer, Y., Draper, E.R.C., Perkins, M. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Skeletal deformities and mortality in grey herons (Ardea cinerea) at Besthorpe heronry, Nottinghamshire. Veterinary Record 159: 514-521.
Lawson, B., Cunningham, A., Chantry, J., Hughes, L., Kirkwood, J., Pennycott, T. and Simpson, V. (2006) Epidemic finch mortality. Veterinary Record 159: 367.
Acevedo-Whitehouse, K. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Is MHC enough for understanding wildlife immunogenetics? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21: 433-438.
Cuthbert, R., Green, R.E., Ranade, S., Saravanan, S., Pain, D.J., Prakash, V. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Rapid population declines of Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) in India. Animal Conservation 9: 349-354.
Garner, T.W.J., Perkins, M., Govindarajulu, P., Seglie, D., Walker, S.J., Cunningham, A.A. and Fisher, M.C. (2006) The emerging amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis globally infects introduced populations of the North American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. Biology Letters 2: 455-459.
Kilpatrick, A.M., Daszak, P., Goodman, S.J., Rogg, H., Kramer, L.D., Cedeño, V. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Predicting pathogen introduction: West Nile virus spread to Galapagos. Conservation Biology 20: 1224-1231.
Swan, G., Cuthbert, R.J., Quevedo, M., Green, R. E., Pain, D., Bartels, P., Cunningham, A.A., Duncan, N., Meharg, A., Oaks, J.L., Parry-Jones, J., Shultz, S., Taggart, M., Verdoorn, G. and Wolter, K. (2006) Toxicity of diclofenac to Gyps vultures. Biology Letters 2: 279-282.
Lawson, B., Macdonald, S., Howard, T., Macgregor, S.K. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Exposure of garden birds to aflatoxins in Britain. Science of the Total Environment 361: 124-131.
Bielby, J., Cunningham, A.A. and Purvis, A. (2006) Taxonomic selectivity in amphibians: ignorance, geography or biology? Animal Conservation 9: 135-143.
Cunningham, A.A. and Bell, D. (2006) Letter - Avian influenza in birds and mammals. Veterinary Record 158(8): 279.
Daszak, P., Plowright, R., Epstein, J. H., Pulliam, J., Abdul Rahman, S., Field, H. E., Jamalludin, A., Johara, M. Y., Smith, C. S. Olival, K. J., Luby, S., Halpin, K., Hyatt, A. D., Cunningham, A. A. and the Henipavirus Ecology Research Group (HERG). (2006) The emergence of Nipah and Hendra virus: pathogen dynamics across a wildlife-livestock-human continuum. In: Disease Ecology - Community Structure and Pathogen Dynamicsm (edited by S. K. Collinge and C. Ray). pp 186-201.UK: Oxford University Press.
Whiteman, N.K., Goodman, S.J., Sinclair, B.J., Walsh, T., Cunningham, A.A., Kramer, L.D. and Parker, P.G. (2005) Establishment of the avian disease vector Culex quinquefasciatus Say, 1823 (Diptera: Culicidae) on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Ibis 147: 844-847.
Cunningham, A.A. (2005) A walk on the wild side - emerging wildlife diseases. British Medical Journal 331: 1214-1215.
Bell, D., Wilkinson, D. and Cunningham, A. A. (2005) Wild goose chase? The Parliamentary Monitor 133(1): 56-57.
Pennycott, T., Lawson, B., Cunningham, A., Simpson, V. and Chantrey, J. (2005) Necrotic ingluvitis in wild finches. Veterinary Record 157: 360-360.
Cunningham, A.A., Garner, T.W.J., Aguilar-Sanchez, V., Banks, B., Foster, J., Sainsbury, A.W., Perkins, M., Walker, S.F., Hyatt, A.D. and Fisher, M.C. (2005) Emergence of amphibian chytridiomycosis in Britain. Veterinary Record 157: 386-387.
Hutchinson, O. C. and Cunningham, A. A. (2005) Benefits and risks in malaria control. Science 310: 49-50.
Daszak, P., Cunningham, A.A. & Hyatt, A.D. (2001) Anthropogenic Environmental Change and the Emergence of Infectious Diseases in Wildlife. Acta Tropica 78, 103-116.
Daszak, P., Cunningham, A.A. & Hyatt, A.D. (2000) Emerging Infectious Diseases of Wildlife: Global Threats to Biodiversity and Human Health. Science 287, 443-449.
Hyatt, A.D., Gould, A.R., Zupanovic, Z., Cunningham, A.A., Hengstberger, S., Whittington, R.J., Coupar, B.E.H. (2000) Characterisation of piscine and amphibian iridoviruses. Archives of Virology 145, 301-331.
Daszak, P., Berger, L., Cunningham, A.A., Hyatt, A.D., Green, D.E. & Speare, R. (1999) Emerging Infectious Diseases and Amphibian Population Declines. Emerging Infectious Diseases 5, 735-748.
Cunningham, A.A. & Daszak, P. (1998) Extinction of a species of land snail due to infection with a microsporidian parasite. Conservation Biology 12, 1139-1141.
Berger, L., Speare, R., Daszak, P., Greene, D.E., Cunningham, A.A., Goggin, C.L., Slocombe, R., Ragan, M.A., Hyatt, A.D., McDonald, K.R., Hines, H.B., Lips, K.R., Marantelli, G. & Parkes, H. (1998) Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rain forests of Australia and Central America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95, 9031-9036.
Cunningham, A.A., Langton, T.E.S., Bennett, P.M.B., Lewin, J.F., Drury, S.E.N., Gough, R.E. & Macgregor, S.K. (1996) Pathological and microbiological findings from incidents of unusual mortality of the common frog (Rana temporaria). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London: Biological Sciences 351, 1539-1557.
Cunningham, A.A. (1996) Disease risks of wildlife translocations. Conservation Biology 10, 349-353.
Kirkwood, J.K. & Cunningham , A.A. (1994). Epidemiological observations on spongiform encephalopathies in captive wild animals in the British Isles. Veterinary Record 135, 296-303.
Cunningham, A.A., Wells, G.A.H., Scott, A.C., Kirkwood, J.K. & Barnett, J.E.F. (1993). Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). Veterinary Record 132, 68.
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Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
London, United Kingdom