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'The perfect petri dish': Animal to human disease outbreaks rise by more than 60% in Africa

According to the most recent World Health Organization statistics, outbreaks of diseases that have spread from animals to people in Africa have increased by 63% over the past decade.

According to a World Health Organization report, the spike in transmissions between 2012 and 2022 could indicate that there are more animal-borne diseases such as Ebola, monkeypox, and COVID. This is “likely” to be a result of a bat.

The increase in public health events in Africa was particularly noticeable between 2019 and 2020. Half of all notable public health events were caused by diseases that originated in animals, but then spread to humans.

The WHO released a statement Thursday stating that Ebola and other diseases were responsible for about 70% of these events.

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Dr Matshidiso Moeti from WHO Africa, stated that we must take immediate action to stop zoonotic disease spread – when pathogens, including viruses, spread from animals to people – before they cause widespread infections.

She urged world leaders to prevent “African becoming a hotspot of emerging infectious diseases.”

Dr Moeti said intercontinental travel has made viruses more likely to cross border.

Learn more about Africa

Africa is home to the fastest-growing population in the world, which has led to more urbanization and less wildlife habitat.

Scientists are concerned that this could lead to an increase in the spread of diseases from distant areas to cities with international travel links to Africa.

Academics and wildlife charities warned earlier that the destruction of natural habitats increases the likelihood of new pandemics .

Dr Mike Barrett (WWF’s executive director of science & conservation) warned that deforestation brings humans closer to animals and increases the chance of zoonotic disease being transmitted.

He said, “We have created a perfect petri dish to spread pathogens.”

“The root of the problem is the conversion to agricultural commodities for international supply chains.

“As we degrade forests like the Amazon, so we increase our risk of the next pandemic.”

After scientists discovered that people can infect animals, cat owners who have COVID or other symptoms last year were warned not to cuddle their pets .

After two cases of virus transmission from cat to cat in the UK, the University of Glasgow identified the warning.

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