Scientists are warning that deadly animal diseases are poised to begin infecting humans as environmental disruption lowers the human-animal species barrier. “At least 45 diseases that have passed from animals to humans have been reported to UN agencies in the last two decades, with the number expected to escalate in the coming years. Dramatic changes to the environment are triggering major alterations to human disease patterns on a scale last seen during the industrial revolution. Montira Pongsiri, an environmental health scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, says that previous transitions in human history have had a devastating impact in terms of the spread of disease. ‘We appear to be undergoing a distinct change in global disease ecology. The recent emergence of infectious diseases appears to be driven by globalisation and ecological disruption,’ Dr Pongsiri said.”
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