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Review Of “Fighting The Rise Of Emerging Infectious Diseases”

1032 words - 5 pages

While it is increasingly common to hear most doomsayers proclaiming that the end of the human species will be the result of technology (particularly nuclear power) or lack of respect for the environment, it might actually be that Mother Nature herself is the threat. This is the point that Corrie Brown and Thijs Kuiken touch upon in their article “Fighting the Rise of Emerging Infectious Diseases.” One of the reasons for their concern is that many of the more severe new diseases that humans have been facing in the past few decades come from different animals. These diseases have been able to make the leap from animal to human seemingly fast and easily.
In the article, an emerging disease is ...view middle of the document...

These manifest in the market as higher prices for food. An increased number of deaths in animals for food production results in decreased food production overall. In this way, very few people are safe from the dangers of emerging diseases, and this in particular is why it is so important that humans get a handle of this problem before it gets completely out of control.
Some common zoonotic threats that humans have faced recently and are still facing today are: avian influenza virus (also known as the H5N1 virus), Ebola virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), anthrax, Monkeypox, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”), and more. Out of this list, the one most worrisome for humans at the present time is H5N1. This virus emerged as a mild form of the flu in birds in the early '90s. Because of this, it went undetected for a while. By the late '90s, there was an outbreak of the virus in which it was so strong that it was capable of killing chickens within two days. After disappearing for a few years, there was another outbreak in 2003. This time, the virus reemerged in a highly pathogenic form that could be spread through both indirect and direct contact with respiratory secretions or contact with avian feces. In looking at the dates of outbreaks of this virus, it becomes obvious that the virus has been growing and mutating at an extremely fast, concerning rate with only a few years in between.
While countries can work to monitor poultry stocks and the health of animals raised for food production by farmers, it is much harder for them to keep track of the health of wild populations. As evidence of this, Brown and Kuiken reference a high death rate in populations of wild birds who were breeding in western China. It is not only China that has been affected either as there have been drastic decreases in populations of “mute” swans in Europe thanks to the disease. As it stands...

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