Biodiversity Loss Biggest Driver of Infectious Disease Outbreak: Study


According to a study, the primary environmental factor increasing the risk and spread of infectious disease epidemics is biodiversity loss.
There are more infectious diseases emerging, and they frequently start in wildlife.
According to a meta-analysis that was published in the journal Nature, the loss of species has the biggest impact on the likelihood of epidemics among all the “global change drivers” that are degrading ecosystems. The introduction of non-native species and climatic change came after the loss of biodiversity.

“The take-home messages are that biodiversity loss, climate change, and introduced species increase disease, whereas urbanisation decreases it,” said lead researcher Prof Jason Rohr from the University of Notre Dame in the US.

Nearly 1,000 research on the environmental factors that contribute to infectious diseases worldwide—all continents except Antarctica—were examined by experts. They examined the frequency and severity of illness in human, animal, and plant hosts.
The group concentrated on five factors that contribute to world change: habitat loss, chemical pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change. They discovered that four of the five factors—all but habitat loss—increased the transmission of illness. Their findings held true for both human and non-human illnesses.
The tendency of humans migrating towards a certain kind of habitat—cities—reduced the risk due to habitat change. Disease rates are generally lower in urban areas, in part because of improved public cleanliness and a reduction in animals.

Since the covid pandemic, which some academics believe was caused by a bat, interest in zoonotic illness has intensified. Wildlife is also the source of several other diseases that are currently concerning international health authorities, such as the swine and avian flus. Zoonoses, or diseases that affect both domestic and wild animals, account for seventy-five percent of newly discovered illnesses in humans.
Prior research has indicated connections between certain illnesses and environmental change (for instance, rising temperatures may be contributing to an increase in malaria cases), but it was not evident which environmental factors had the most influence at the time.

Numerous of the causes are interrelated, according to the researchers: “For instance, habitat loss and change can be caused by climate change and chemical pollution, which can then lead to biodiversity loss.”
According to researchers, lowering emissions, stopping the loss of biodiversity, and avoiding invasive species can all contribute to a decrease in the burden of disease.

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