Disease transmissions alarm scientists

June 15, 2003 at 11:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- Scientists are alarmed animals are transmitting viruses, bacteria and parasites to humans more rapidly than ever before.

The Washington Post reported Sunday Lyme disease, Ebola, AIDS, SARS, West Nile and now, monkeypox are all zoonotic diseases, passed to to humans from animals.

The trend of animals infecting humans is quickly gaining speed, the Post said.

"Influenza is a zoonotic disease. HIV is a zoonotic disease. Monkeypox. SARS," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "You can go on and on."

There are many reasons for the "buried" diseases to come out in the open.

As the human population grows, people are moving in on rainforests and jungles; suburban sprawl is encroaching on undeveloped areas and climate changes are pushing birds and bugs into new areas.

Scientists said adding to the problem is the popularity of exotic pets that carry infectious diseases.

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