A new StudyIt has been shown that the risk of zoonotic diseases transmission from climate change will increase as wildlife comes into closer contact with humans. This could lead to the emergence of the next global pandemic.
The authors of the research published April 28 in the journal Nature note that of the 10,000 types of zoonotic viruses, most are “circulating silently” in wildlife, meaning they are not currently impacting humans. The scientists warn that this could change with the climate crisis.
“Climate and land use change will produce novel opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated species of wildlife,” according to the report. Changes in habitats can cause animals to come in contact with humans and other species they may not be familiar with, opening up new avenues for spreading viruses.
Scientists believe that COVID-19 is the cause. spreadThe new study warns that COVID-19 will not be the last zoonotic disease to be transmitted from bats in China to humans.
“We worry about markets because bringing unhealthy animals together in unnatural combinations creates opportunities for this stepwise process of emergence,” lead author Colin Carlson of Georgetown University Medical Center Tells the Hill. “But markets aren’t special anymore. In a changing climate, that kind of process will be the reality in nature just about everywhere.”
Past research has indicated that bats are the best species for preventing extinction. top carriersAlthough there are no viruses that are considered to be dangerous to humans, Peter Daszak, EcoHealth Alliance’s ecologist, cautions against believing that zoonotic diseases cannot possibly be prevented. “These viruses will only emerge in people if we continue encroaching into bat habitat, hunting and eating them, and otherwise making contact with them,” Daszak Science told2017
There is increasing evidence that humans should avoid contact with wild species. The climate crisis will likely make it more difficult to avoid zoonotic diseases. For example, 2020 study found that as large mammals vanish due to a changing climate as well as hunting and other threats, populations of smaller animals like rodents–who often carry transmissible disease and thrive in close environments with humans–are Exploding.
According to a report, it will be increasingly difficult to track and prevent the rapid spread of new disease. StudyJanuary 2022. The authors found that climate change may alter “the conditions for pathogens and vectors of zoonotic diseases,” citing “the increasing spread of the West Nile and Usutu viruses and the establishment of new vector species, such as specific mosquito and tick species” as examples.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states that many of climate change’s “root causes” also increase our risk of pandemics, including deforestation. Deforestation is the “largest cause of habitat loss worldwide” and can force animals to leave their homes and migrate to new areas, where they may spread germs to humans and other species. According to Harvard, deforestation is a major cause of habitat loss. Agriculture is a major factor.The industry poses a number other potentially dangerous public health risks.
“Large livestock farms can also serve as a source for spillover of infections from animals to people,” the school states. “Less demand for animal meat and more sustainable animal husbandry could decrease emerging infectious disease risk and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
Some medical experts are already documenting climate change’s impacts on individual health, including what they believe to be climate change-Similar casesDiabetes, allergies, and asthma. New ResearchStudies show that patients with diabetes may experience worsening conditions as temperatures continue to rise.
According to a 2017 ReportThe Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health released a report that one in three Americans knew that climate change was already affecting people in the United States. Dr. Colin Nackerman, of the Consortium, spoke this month. Beware, “Climate change is one of the biggest public health crises of our time.”
Jennifer is a writer, editor and blogger based in Washington DC. Her background is in communications within the animal protection movement. Sentient Media is also her contributor writer.