The spread of viruses’ from animals to humans is causing new diseases to emerge because humankind is coming in contact with otherwise undisturbed natural habitat and the pathogens are finding new carriers in humans.
Coronavirus pandemic has posed many questions about the origin of the newest strain of the highly contagious virus. COVID 19 is one in the series of many mass pandemics researchers predict are on its way.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is likely a global effect of natural habitat destruction combined with the effects of globalization.”
The outbreak of the virus is caused by human activities
The expansion of economic development, building activity at the cost of biodiversity creates conditions for new viruses and diseases such as Covid-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise – with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike.
The connection between new virus and ecosystem destruction
The connection between the new viruses and ecosystem destruction has become more evident with the newest outbreak in Asia. Most viruses are zoonotic i.e. they are originally found in wild animals away from human settlements.
MERS is supposedly found in camels, SARS in bats, Ebola from bushmeat, bird flu, and now COVID 19. Some, like rabies and plague, crossed from animals centuries ago. One feature common to all is their rapid spread which makes them global diseases.
60% of all new diseases are found in animals and humans do not possess the coping mechanisms or antibodies to fight them off. The continuous evolution of virus strains puts the future of humankind in jeopardy. It has become easier for the virus to spring up in urban as well as natural environments. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei state became the epicenter of the latest outbreak.
This is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Viruses do not follow genetic or species boundaries and shrinking natural habitats and changing behavior add to the risks of diseases spilling over from animals to humans. Thus, in future pandemics might become a common phenomenon.