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Wednesday, April 17 2024
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Health & Lifestyle

Climate Change to Amplify Ebola, SARS, Nipah Deaths 12x

Nipah
Photo Credit : IANS

An alarming study that demands “urgent action” predicts that by 2050, the number of human deaths from zoonotic diseases like Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and Nipah will have increased by a factor of 12.

According to the study, which was published in the journal BMJ Global Health, the Covid-19 pandemic brought patterns of infectious disease spillover to light.

The majority of current epidemics have been caused by zoonotic spillover events, which are expected to occur more frequently as a result of changes in climate and land use.

Although the frequency of spillover-driven epidemics is predicted to increase as a result of human-driven climate and environmental change, the magnitude of its implications for global health in the future is difficult to characterise given the limited empirical data on the frequency of zoonotic spillover, and its variability over time, said the team of researchers from the US company Concentric by Ginkgo, which works with governments on early warning monitoring of pandemics.

The study draws on an extensive epidemiological database to examine a specific subset of zoonotic spillover events for trends in the frequency and severity of outbreaks.

According to corresponding author Dr. Amanda Jean Meadows from Ginkgo, “we find the number of outbreaks and deaths caused collectively by this subset of pathogens (SARS Coronavirus 1, Filoviruses, Machupo virus, and Nipah virus) have been increasing at an exponential rate from 1963 to 2019.” MARS and Ebola are members of the filovirus family.

Hemorrhagic fever in Bolivia is brought on by the Machupo virus.

“If the trend observed in this study continues, we would expect these pathogens to cause four times the number of spillover events and 12 times the number of deaths in 2050, compared with 2020,” Meadows added.

The study identified a total of 75 spillover events occurring in 24 countries from 1963 to 2019, causing a total of 17, 232 deaths from 1963 to 2019. They suggest that the series of these impactful spillover-driven epidemics are not random anomalies, but follow a multi-decade trend in which epidemics have become both larger and more frequent.

The team’s analysis, which excludes the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, shows that the number of spillover events and reported deaths have been increasing by 4.98 per cent and 8.7 per cent annually, respectively.

This trend can be altered by concerted global efforts to improve our capacity to prevent and contain outbreaks.Such efforts are needed to address this large and growing risk to global health, Meadows said in the paper.

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