How Environmental Damage can Lead to New Diseases

“One probable reason for the increase in pathogens is that felling trees increases contact between humans and disease-carrying animals. Scientists found a correlation between the loss of forests in west and central Africa and outbreaks of Ebola between 2004 and 2014. The Ebola virus is thought to be transmitted by infected bats and primates, although exactly how is not yet fully understood. And interactions with other mammals are not the only concern. Cutting down trees may also increase the threat to humans posed by viral infections transmitted through mosquito bites, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya. Researchers at the University of Florida analysed studies of 87 mosquito species in 12 countries. Around half of the species were associated with deforested environments. Of these, more than half are known to carry diseases.”

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