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In the next 50 years, we are likely to witness over 15,000 new cases of mammals transmitting viruses to other mammals - the reason is climate change!  A recently published article in the scientific journal Nature analyses global warming will shift wildlife habitats and increase encounters between species capable of swapping pathogens

The COVID-19 pandemic probably started when a previously unknown coronavirus passed from a wild animal to a human. The experts now warn that a predicted rise in viruses jumping between species could trigger more outbreaks, posing a serious threat to human and animal health alike. 

“Climate change is "creating innumerable hotspots of future zoonotic risk - or present day zoonotic risk - right in our backyard. We have to acknowledge that climate change is going to be the biggest upstream driver of disease emergence, and we have to build health systems that are ready for that," pointed out the study's co-author Colin Carlson, a global change biologist, as quoted by Nature. 

Here's how climate change likely to affect zoonotic transmission:

  • As the temperature rises, several animal species will abandon their native places and move to cooler land where they will meet several other new species. This will give rise to virus-transmission among mammals
  • A rise in viruses jumping between species will trigger more outbreaks like the Covid-19 pandemic, posing a serious threat to human and animal health alike
  • The hotspots of virus-jumping will be regions with species-rich ecosystems (particularly areas of Africa and Asia) and areas that are densely populated like India and Indonesia.
  •  This process has likely already begun, and will continue even if the world acts quickly to reduce carbon emissions and poses a major threat to both animals and humans, the researchers said.
  • Bats are believed to be reservoirs of viruses and will go through virus transmission regardless of climate change.

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