Coronavirus: Exploiting nature ‘drives outbreaks of latest diseases’

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New evidence has emerged of a link between human exploitation of nature and pandemics.Close contact with wild animals through hunting, trade or habitat loss puts the planet at increased risk of outbreaks of latest diseases, say scientists.

Coronavirus is assumed to possess originated in bats, with other wild animals, possibly pangolins, playing a task in transmission to humans.

There are strong indications of a wildlife source and a link to trade.

In the latest study, researchers trawled scientific papers for reports of diseases that have crossed from animals to humans, then combined this data with information on extinction risk compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Wild animals in danger of extinction thanks to human exploitation were found to hold over twice as many viruses which will cause human disease as threatened species listed for other reasons. an equivalent was true for threatened species in danger thanks to loss of habitat.

“As natural habitat is diminished, wildlife inherit closer contact with people,” Dr Christine Johnson of the University of California, Davis, US, told BBC News,

“Wildlife also shift their distributions to accommodate anthropogenic activities and modification of the natural landscape. This has hastened disease emergence from wildlife, which put us in danger of pandemics because we are all globally connected through travel and trade.”

Wild animals on the sting of extinction are few in number and usually pose a coffee risk of passing on infectious diseases, said Dr Johnson, except where human exploitation and habitat loss puts them in close contact with humans.

“Exploitation of wildlife, which has caused once abundant wildlife to say no in numbers, through hunting and trading in wildlife, have species survival and also put humans in danger of emerging communicable disease ,” she said.

Scientists have long drawn attention to human diseases that have originated in animals, including Sars, Mers and Ebola. within the wake of coronavirus, there’s growing awareness that human health is linked both with animal health and therefore the health of the earth as an entire .

A wide range of organisations are calling for curbs on wild animal trade to scale back risks to human health. Dr Johnson said wild animals sold in busy markets where animals and other people mix present a chance for diseases to leap between species that might normally never close within the wildlife .

“Disease emergence that happens anywhere can affect us all and that we got to all understand the impact we are having once we interact with wildlife, realise that disease emergence is an environmental issue, and find more sustainable ways to co-exist.”

Source: BBC NEWS

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