Prepared for Lee | Delivered April 21, 2020
Future of Food Virus Fact Check
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To further examine the links (if any) between the rise in environmental practices such as animal husbandry and he use of pesticides with the occurance of pandemics, for information for a podcast.
The author of "Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic,"
, wrote about the probability of a coronavirus starting in animals and spreading all over the globe. He stated that such things as the growth of urban sectors, the use of pesticides and international trade have all
and destroyed biodiversity, while often "letting loose" viruses in the process.
Up to 1 million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction and 40% of insects are under threat according to the World Wildlife Fund, and a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that 50% of animals that once were upon the Earth with us, are already gone.
Many leading scientists
such as Quammen, link biodiversity loss directly to the spread of infectious diseases.
According to this study on "Infectious Disease Emergence: Past, Present, and Future" there are different ways in which humans have affected the ecosystem, with
activities like agriculture
, food-handling practices, and, changes in water ecosystems (an important consideration for the vector biologists).
The paper states
that "There are a number of ecological changes, many of them
, which provide new opportunities for pathogens to emerge and gain access to human populations. Think of these as a sort of microbial explorers, discovering new niches—us—and exploring new territory."
According to science daily, pesticides can cause
imbalances in the environment
that can cause the eventual proliferation of infectious disease vectors.
In this study it was found that pesticides in the waterways may be
of an increase of schistosomiasis pathogens. "
are the problem
," says Professor Matthias Liess, Head of the Department of System
at the UFZ. "Before schistosomiasis can be contained, something has to be done to prevent the proliferation of the pathogens in bodies of water."
It was found that even at
extremely small concentrations of pesticides
that are deemed harmless in the pertinent risk assessment, that "sensitive insect species disappear whereas the populations of more resistant species such as freshwater snails proliferate." In this particular case, "insect larvae living in the water that graze the algae cover of rocks, just like the snails, are severely decimated by pesticide contamination or disappear completely," resulting in "optimum food conditions for the snails, which allows them to proliferate," in turn, creating an ideal situation for the trematode worm Schistosoma that kills around
200,000 people each
year to spread
This comprehensive study
from a collaborative group of researchers found in their synthesis of the literature that "since 1940 agricultural drivers were associated with >25% of all, and >50% of zoonotic infectious diseases that emerged in humans, proportions that will likely increase as agriculture expands and intensifies."