Amy R. Sweeny, Gregory F. Albery, Daniel J. Becker, Evan A. Eskew, Colin J. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Ecologists increasingly recognise coinfection as an important component of emer-gent epidemiological patterns, connecting aspects of ecoimmunology, behaviour, ecosystem function and even extinction risk.
2. Building on syndemic theory in medical anthropology, we propose the term ‘syn-zootics’ to describe co- occurring enzootic or epizootic processes that produce worse health outcomes in wild animals. Using framing from syndemic theory, we describe how the synzootic concept offers new insights into the ecology and evo-lution of infectious diseases.
3. We then recommend a set of empirical criteria and lines of evidence that can be used to identify synzootics in nature. We conclude by exploring how synzootics could indirectly drive the emergence of novel pathogens in human populations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2021


  • coinfection
  • conservation medicine
  • ecoimmunology
  • host– parasite interactions
  • one health
  • syndemics


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