This week, the Lancet publishes a series of three papers on diseases that are ‘zoonotic’, that is, infections shared by people and other animals. As William Keresh of EcoHealth Alliance (New York) and his colleagues explain in the first paper, Ecology of zoonoses: natural and unnatural histories, the sharing of pathogenic organisms by people and wild and domesticated animals is a natural biological phenomenon that, ‘with present anthropogenic trends’ and without similarly integrated disease prevention and control responses, presents a clear and present danger to humanity.
‘More than 60% of human infectious diseases are caused by pathogens shared with wild or domestic animals. Zoonotic disease organisms include those that are endemic in human populations or enzootic in animal populations with frequent cross-species transmission to people.
‘Some of these diseases have only…
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