In case you haven’t heard, there’s a newly emerged disease going around under the name Covid-19.
While much of the world’s attention is currently placed squarely on this new pathogenic threat, it isn’t the only disease that’s emerging (or re-emerging) and looming over the fate of humanity.
In a bid to highlight these risks, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has produced a map that shows the newly emerging diseases and re-emerging diseases that the world is currently facing, and where.
The map shows some well known old enemies that are currently resurging in some parts of the world, such as cholera, measles, typhoid fever, Ebola, and diphtheria, and a number of newly emerging, often lesser-known, threats like Akhmeta virus, Hendra virus, Bourbon virus, and a range of new influenza strains.
There is also one example of a disease that is “deliberately emerging”: Anthrax bioterrorism. This refers to a number of incidents in the past few decades where the bacterium Bacillus anthracis was used by terrorists as a biological weapon. One of the most prominent examples of this was the 2001 anthrax attacks in the US where letters laced with anthrax were sent to a number of news media offices and Senators, killing five people and sickening at last 17 others.
A number of recent studies and reports have highlighted how humanity’s current relationship with nature is greatly increasing the risk of a disease hopping from an animal host to a human, potentially creating a new zoonotic disease outbreak, like this new swine flu in China.
Indeed, most of the diseases on this map are zoonotic diseases, clearly highlighting this point. As the world continues to encroach on natural environments and indulge in a ”broken relationship” with nature, the threat of zoonotic disease only becomes higher.
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