Jump to content

Where will the next pandemic begin?


Recommended Posts


The Amazon rainforest offers troubling clues:


In the three decades since Darah Lady's widowed grandmother first arrived in this remote stretch of northern Brazil, clearing the jungle by hand to build a house for her 14 children, the family has pushed deeper and deeper into the Amazon. It has been driven by the frontier maxim that prosperity comes when nature succumbs to human dominion.

Yet their growing outpost in northeastern Amazonas state—one of thousands of informal settlements throughout the world's largest rainforest—could imperil not only their children's future but also that of the entire planet.

It's not just about trees. It's about viruses.

More global pandemics like COVID-19 are on the way, scientists say, and the next one is likely to emerge from a community like Darah Lady's, where people are encroaching on the natural world and erasing the buffer between themselves and habitats that existed long before a shovel cut this earth.

From palm oil cultivation in Malaysia to mining in Africa or cattle ranching in Brazil, as people demolish forest, they not only accelerate global warming but also dramatically increase their risk of exposure to disease. Lurking in mammals and birds are about 1.6 million viruses, some of which will be deadly when they leap to humans. The stakes turn catastrophic if a virus proves transmissible between people.

That's what happened with COVID-19, which originated from close contact between humans and wild animals—whether it sprung from a natural setting or a laboratory.

Scientists say that disease hot zones are multiplying from Africa to South America, and that deforestation has already triggered a rise in infectious disease. Zoologists have traced about a third of all known outbreaks around the world to rapid land use change, including Nipah virus, malaria and Lyme disease. The problem is worsened by warmer temperatures brought by climate change that allow disease-carrying insects to flourish.


more at link...................



A frightening scenario to say the least. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of hot zones, and much focus in on spillovers from eth environment. While this is clearly a risk factor, I think folks are underestimating the risks associated e.g. with factory farming. Swine flu has jumped to humans several times and quite a few of these cases happened in the US. It was only by luck that most have not become pandemics, though specifically swine flue eventually did become one (in 2009).

Ultimately I think it will be impossible to predict the next location, as it could be almost anywhere and we need a more comprehensive approach to monitoring, detection and reporting. What the current pandemic is showing us is that existing measures are simply isufficient.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.