Coronavirus May Be Just The Start Of Animal-Sourced Epidemics

The coypu (aka nutria) is a known vector of foot and mouth disease.

“Our results suggest that global changes in the mode and the intensity of land use are creating expanding hazardous interfaces between people, livestock and wildlife reservoirs of zoonotic disease.” – Nature 

Disease-carrying animals thrive on our farmed land and in our cities

5 August 2020

New Scientist – We are changing the world in a way that favours animals such as bats – the source of the new coronavirus – that carry more diseases.

That is the conclusion of an analysis looking at what changes are occurring in ecosystems as people move in.

“Some species are doing better and they are disproportionately likely to be those that transmit diseases to people,” says Rory Gibb at University College London.

His team took advantage of a global project looking at how ecosystems change in disturbed areas, such as land cleared for farming, compared with undisturbed areas nearby.

Nearly 7,000 studies of this kind have now been done worldwide.

The researchers found that small, fast-lived animals such as rodents, songbirds and bats tend to become more abundant in areas where people have moved in – and that these animals carry more diseases compared with larger, longer-lived species that have declined or disappeared.

The finding suggests that the way we are changing landscapes is increasing the risk of diseases jumping species.

However, this risk also depends on other factors such as how likely people are to be exposed and how vulnerable they are to a particular disease, says Gibb, which the study didn’t look at … Read more. 

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