60 percent of emerging infectious diseases come from animals, study says

By Tauren Dyson

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- More than 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases in humans originated in animals, one study says.

And more than 70 percent of those animal-originated diseases, known as zoonotic diseases, come from wild animals.


"National and international authorities should support improved surveillance of humans and abundant monkey species, as well as popular messages to promote safe meat handling practices," the study said.

The study, which appeared Thursday in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, focused on zoonotic disease transmission from nonhuman primates to humans in Southeastern Cameroon. The work gathered data gathered from hundreds of people in various villages using real-time data collection, oral history interviews and wild meat surveys.

The researchers collected the data in 2016 and 2017.

About 85 percent of survey respondents had eaten primate meat at some point in their lives. Overall, the risk of transmission of any zoonotic disease to humans was connected to how close the nonhuman primates lived to the villages.

Monkeys and apes primates make strong conveyors of pathogens that can harm humans since humans and nonhuman primates share strong similarities.

"Multidisciplinary social science and ecological approaches should be used to improve surveillance and communications with forest populations about neglected tropical diseases," the authors said.


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