Essays on Science and SocietyEnvironment

Environmental change and the ecology of infectious disease

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Science  05 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6214, pp. 1192
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1810

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More than half of all the infectious diseases that affect humans are zoonoses—pathogens naturally transmitted from animals. Because a substantial proportion of these diseases originate in wildlife, environmental context drives patterns of transmission. But despite the strong influence of environment on zoonotic pathogens, considerable uncertainty exists as to whether and how anthropogenic environmental change modulates disease risk.