The issue of wildlife diseases was last addressed by the OIE Scientific and Technical Review in December 1988. That specific review supplied extensive inventories, and valuable epidemiological information with regard to infectious diseases diagnosed in wildlife.
During the following fourteen years prior to the publication of this current special issue, impressive progress has been made in the fields of diagnosis and management of infectious diseases, detection of new or emerging diseases, and recognition of the epidemiological link between wildlife and many of these diseases. These developments were also partially responsible for the establishment by the OIE of a Working Group on Wildlife Diseases, and the identification and listing of wildlife disease specialists and diagnostic reference laboratories world-wide. The growing economic, aesthetic and cultural importance of wildlife in recent decades cannot be overlooked by the veterinary profession.