Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise
A closer look into rainforests and how they are becoming the world's secret laboratories in creating revolutionary experiments that produces pygmy elephants, monkeys with enormous noses, tiny deer, and other animal anomalies is being conducted by experts. These types of places appear to be where pandemics, like the Ebola Virus, HIV, Yellow Fever and Zika Virus came from.
NPR is exploring the causes of such epidemics and how biological bonanzas are hurting the environment and creating detrimental disease for both humans and other animals. The rainforest is being used as a biodiversity hot spot according to virus hunter Kevin Olival who is also an ecologist and evolutionary biologist working for the U.S.-based non-profit organization EcoHealth Alliance.
Olival claims that the rich diversity in the rain forest foes not only include the creatures that we see in it but as well as the Macro creatures and Nano creatures, including viruses present. The number of new infectious diseases has already multiplied by four times more every year and infectious disease exposure continues to happen at a rapid pace. Outbreaks, on the other hand, have multiplied thrice as many as the number of outbreaks experienced before.
This is the reason why virus hunters like Kevin Olival fly around the world to collect undiscovered viruses and ways on how to potentially kill them. The PREDICT project is provided $200 million funding by the U.S. government as lead by the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. It aims to discover viruses that exist around the globe and prepare for a pandemic if the virus manages to find its way to humans.
Meanwhile, Business Insider reports about a new killer virus, feline enteritis causing severe gastroenteritis in cats that are currently hitting Sydney Australia's domestic cat population. It has killed more than 50 cats, mostly kittens and has already surfaced in three animal shelters in Western Sydney.
The disease known as the feline panleukopenia was already thought to be annihilated. However, researchers from the University of Sydney confirmed that this disease is indeed the cause of the outbreak. This outbreak is considered very dangerous due to the current summer season in the region wherein the largest number of kittens are around.
Diseases and viruses that are intentionally created or naturally occurring in biodiverse environments such as rain forest pose a great risk for humans especially if not addressed and discovered early. Determining their existence, even before it reaches the human population will help a lot in containing any possible pandemic in the future.