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New Study Maps Global Zoonotic Disease 'Hotspots'

“A global study mapping human diseases that come from animals like tuberculosis, AIDS, bird flu or Rift Valley fever has found that just 13 such diseases are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths a year,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 7/5). “The report, which was conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Institute of Zoology (U.K.) and the Hanoi School of Public Health in Vietnam, maps poverty, livestock-keeping and the diseases humans get from animals, and presents a ‘top 20’ list of geographical hotspots,” an ILRI press release states (7/5). The study “found that Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania, as well as India have the highest zoonotic disease burdens, with widespread illness and death,” Reuters writes.

“It also found the United States and Europe — especially Britain — Brazil and parts of Southeast Asia may be becoming hotspots of ’emerging zoonoses,’ which are infecting humans for the first time, are especially virulent or are becoming drug resistant,” the news service adds. According to Reuters, Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert with ILRI and lead author of the study, “said targeting these diseases in the hardest-hit countries is crucial to protecting global health, and failing to tackle them would allow demand for meat products to ‘fuel the spread of a wide range of human-animal infectious diseases'” (7/5).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.