Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on Ebola, told The Independent the world should prepare for more major outbreaks of zoonotic diseases – those which can pass from animals to humans – which he said were a “local and global threat to humanity”.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has claimed nearly 10,500 lives in little over a year, is believed to have originated in fruit bats – and Dr Nabarro believes it is not the only disease that could transfer and spread. “I’ve been dealing with influenzas and Sars and Mers, they are a tip of the iceberg,” he said.
“There will be more: one, because people are moving around more; two, because the contact between humans and the wild is on the increase; and maybe because of climate change. The worry we always have is that there will be a really infectious and beastly bug that comes along.” Some experts suspect that population pressure and deforestation in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, which has brought people into closer contact with the wild-animal hosts of numerous viruses – combined with changes to rainfall patterns that affected the numbers and behaviour of bats – may have led to the first transmission of Ebola in West Africa, a region that prior to last year never had an outbreak.
Full article: World warned: Prepare for more Ebola-like outbreaks (The Independent)