Saturday, December 4, 2010

Biodiversity and human disease

The loss of biodiversity -- from beneficial bacteria to charismatic mammals -- threatens human health. That's the conclusion of a study published this week in the journal Nature by scientists who study biodiversity and infectious diseases.

The animals, plants, and microbes most likely to disappear as biodiversity is lost are often those that buffer infectious disease transmission. Those that remain tend to be species that magnify the transmission of infectious diseases like West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and hantavirus.

but note that:

In contrast, areas of naturally high biodiversity may serve as a source pool for new pathogens.  

News report at ScienceDaily and original paper in Nature: Impacts of biodiversity on the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases

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