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The environment of future epidemics

The environment of future epidemics

This is because of the new opportunities this provides for some parasites. But can we measure this risk? A new meta-analysis — or set of studies — suggests that these trends are widespread almost everywhere in the world.

Together, these 972 studies represent 2,938 observations of infectious diseases that can be associated with environmental disturbances, across 1,497 “host-parasite groups” – whether parasites infecting plants, animals or humans. The authors, who work in biology, botany and public health, note that in addition to climate, biodiversity loss, pollution and the introduction of invasive species are “also associated with increased diseases” linked to parasites. Above all, they note that these changes are independent of geographical location (in other words, they are observed everywhere) and of living species, whether animal or plant. Their studies It was published on May 8 in the magazine nature.

Until then, analyzes of this kind were limited to a region or continent: for example, by many researchers They were worried In recent years, malaria has spread on the African continent due to rising temperatures. or Progress in Europe From West Nile virus. In November, New edition From the annual report of the medical journal The scalpel The World Health and Climate Organization concluded that if the increase in temperatures compared to the pre-industrial era reached 2 degrees Celsius (we are currently at 1.2 degrees), the conditions for dengue outbreaks would increase by 36 to 37%.

But the more global view offered by this meta-analysis adds to knowledge about the risks of future pandemics: it is no longer just about close contact with more animal species. Which creates new risks (This is called a Zoonotic disease, when an infectious disease is transmitted from animals to humans, as was the case with Covid-19). This is rather New environmental conditions caused by human activity Who are in danger Providing new opportunities For viruses of all kinds.

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This study “confirms that if we want to avoid the next pandemic, we must stop the destruction of biodiversity, global warming and pollution.” comments Diarmuid Campbell Lendrum, Director of the Climate Change Unit at the World Health Organization.

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