Deforestation, population increases could cause more viruses to appear

Experts say the rising number of emerging viruses is largely the result of ecological destruction and wildlife trade

Experts say the rising number of emerging viruses is largely the result of ecological destruction and wildlife trade
Experts say the rising number of emerging viruses is largely the result of ecological destruction and wildlife trade

Professor and microbiologist Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum works in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is the person who discovered Ebola in 1976.

And he told CNN that more zoonotic diseases, or those that jump from animals to humans, are in store for our future.

There are plenty of examples.

The flu jumps from birds to humans, HIV jumped from chimpanzees, yellow fever from mosquitos and Lyme Disease from ticks, and they are all diseases we are fighting.

COVID-19 originally jumped from an animal to humans, although scientists do not know which animal, exactly.

Experts say the rising number of emerging viruses is largely the result of ecological destruction and wildlife trade.

The United Nations is warning that deforestation and population increases could cause more viruses to jump to humans.

But they say it doesn’t have to be this way.

A group of American, Chinese, Kenyan and Brazilian scientists say that investing $30 billion a year to protect natural forests and stop wildlife trading could prevent future pandemics.

Now that may seem like a lot, but economists said the coronavirus pandemic will cost the U.S. $16 trillion in the next 10 years.

So scientists leave this warning: protect forests to protect humanity because Mother Nature has deadly weapons in her armory.

And after 2020, that is advice we can all understand.


About the Author:

Gretchen Nowroozi was born and raised in Houston. She started working at KSAT as an intern in 2019 after graduating from Michigan State University. She is a producer for Good Morning San Antonio.