More people mean more disease

HOW do you predict where the next infectious disease will emerge? Studying human population density might be a good start.

Peter Daszak of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine based in New York and his colleagues collected reports of new infectious diseases from 1940 to 2004 and found that most of them were bacterial, with many emerging in rich countries.

Their study also showed that 60 per cent involved pathogens that had jumped to people from animals (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature06536).

Density of population was the strongest predictor of where new infections would emerge, making disease "a hidden cost of human economic development".

This means that future hotspots of infections are more likely to be found in wildlife-rich and population-dense tropics.

1 comment :

  1. You have a most interesting blog.

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