Is human destruction of nature responsible for the covid-19?

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Research suggests that outbreaks of animal-borne diseases and other infectious diseases like Ebola, Sars, bird flu and now Covid-19, caused by a new coronavirus, are on the rise. Pathogens cross from animals to humans, and many can quickly spread to new places. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USA They estimate that three-fourths of the new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals.

Some, like rabies and plague, came from animals centuries ago. Others, like Marburg, believed to be transmitted by bats, are still rare. Some, like Covid-19, which emerged last year in Wuhan, China, and Mers; which is related to camels in the Middle East, they are new to humans and are spreading globally.

Other diseases that have reached humans from animals include Lassa fever, which was first identified in 1969 in Nigeria; Nipah from Malaysia; and Sars from China, which killed more than 700 people and traveled to 30 countries between 2002 and 2003. Some, like Zika and the West Nile virus, which emerged in Africa, have mutated and established themselves on other continents.

Emerging animal-borne infectious diseases are described by some scientists as "a growing and major threat to global health, safety and economies." It was identified that at least 60% of the diseases that arose between 1960 and 2004 came from animals.

Kate Jones, president of ecology and biodiversity at UCL, indicates that the resulting transmission of the disease from wildlife to humans is "a hidden cost of human economic development." There are many more of us, in all settings. We go to largely quiet places and we expose ourselves more and more. We are creating habitats where viruses are more easily transmitted, and then we are surprised that we have new ones.

Richard Ostfeld, a distinguished scientist at the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York said: "There is a misunderstanding between scientists and the public that natural ecosystems are the source of threats to ourselves. Nature poses threats, true, but it is human activities that cause the real harm. Health risks in a natural environment can be greatly worsened when we interfere with it. "

Disease ecologists argue that viruses and other pathogens can also pass from animals to humans in the many informal markets that have emerged to supply fresh meat to fast-growing urban populations around the world. Here, the animals are slaughtered, cut, and sold on the spot.

The "wet market" (one that sells fresh produce and meat) in Wuhan, considered by the Chinese government as the starting point of the current Covid-19 pandemic, was known to sell numerous wild animals, including live wolf cubs, salamanders, crocodiles, scorpions, rats, squirrels, foxes, civets, and turtles.

Similarly, urban markets in western and central Africa sell monkeys, bats, rats, and dozens of slaughtered birds, mammals, insects, and rodents sold near open, undrained landfills.

Chinese authorities closed the Wuhan market, along with others that sell live animals, and last month Beijing banned the trade and consumption of wild animals, except fish and shellfish. But a ban on the sale of live animals in urban areas or informal markets is not the answer, some scientists say.

However, Kate Jones says, "It's not fair to demonize places that don't have refrigerators. These traditional markets provide much of the food for Africa and Asia."

"These markets are essential sources of food for hundreds of millions of poor people, and getting rid of them is impossible," says Delia Grace, an epidemiologist and veterinarian at the International Livestock Research Institute, based in Nairobi, Kenya. He argues that the bans force merchants to stay underground, where they can pay less attention to hygiene.

Jones says change must come from rich and poor societies. The demand for wood, minerals and resources from the global north leads to degraded landscapes and ecological disruption that causes disease, she says. "We must think about global biosecurity, find weaknesses, and strengthen health care provision in developing countries. Otherwise, we can expect more of the same."

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