New model predicts transition of new diseases from animals to humans

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Many infectious disease in humans were originally peculiar animal. Viral fever and Zika Ebola occurred among monkeys and other mammals, the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus lived in organisms camels and bats, while the mutation did not allow him to go to the people. But scientists can not predict when a new disease will make the fatal leap and begin to pose a danger to people.

Now a team led by Keith Jones (Kate Jones) and David Redding (David W. Redding) at University College London has developed a model that should predict such events. Scientists believe it will help governments prepare for and react to outbreaks of new diseases, as well as to take into account their risk when making decisions that may affect the environment. The model takes into account climate change, population, land use, and the number of animals that are carriers of infection.

New model predicts transition of new diseases from animals to humans

The researchers analyzed data on 408 outbreaks of Lassa fever that occurred in West Africa from 1967 to 2012. In nature, the virus that causes the disease, is contained in multimammate rats (Mastomys natelensis). Scientists have identified subtypes rats transmit the virus to humans and to establish which environmental factors affect their distribution. Applying the model created by them to the disease, they got the likelihood of further transmission of the virus from rats to people. According to their forecast, the number of infected with Lassa fever in Africa will grow from 195,000 today to 407,000 by 2070. The increase was attributable mainly to the increase in population and climate change.

The study is published in the journal Methods of Ecology and Evolution.

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