Reflections for today World Environment Day, dedicated to biodiversity and climate emergencies.
Because the integrity of the ecosystem highlights health and human development.
- Did you know that about 60% of human infectious diseases and 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, that is, are due to animal transmission ?
- Some examples are Ebola, Bird Flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Nipah Virus, Rift Valley Fever, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile Fever, Zikavirus and now the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, all of which are linked to human activity.
- The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa is the result of forest dissemination that have led wildlife to approach human settlements; bird flu is related to intense poultry farming; the Nipah Virus emerged due to the intensification of swine and fruit production in Malaysia.
- Although the origin of the outbreak and the spread of COVID 19 are still unclear, there are already important aspects that are worth knowing:
- The interaction of humans or herds with wild animals can expose us to the spread of possible pathogens. Herds serve as an epidemiological bridge for many zoonoses, between wildlife and human diseases.
- The determining factors for the appearance of zoonoses are changes in the environment, usually the result of human activities, ranging from changes in land use, to climate change; from changes in animal and human hosts to constantly evolving pathogens to explore new hosts.
- Diseases associated with bats have arisen due to the loss of their habitat as a result of deforestation and agricultural expansion. These mammals play important roles in the ecosystem, as they are nocturnal pollinators and eat insects.
- The integrity of our ecosystem highlights health and human development. Environmental changes caused by humans, modify the population structure of our wildlife and reduce biodiversity, resulting in environmental conditions that favor certain hosts, vectors and/or pathogens.
- The integrity of the ecosystem also helps to control diseases, supporting biological diversity and hindering the spread, expansion and control of pathogens.
- It is impossible to predict where or when the next outbreak will come from. However, evidence suggests that these outbreaks or epidemics may become more frequent as the climate continues to change.