Almost half of the world’s cities at risk of generating new pandemics

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Study warns that more than 40% of the world’s big cities are at risk of becoming the center of a new fatal disease due to the pressures of human activity and action on nature and wildlife.

It is not new that human intrusion into habitats natural causes the risk of epidemics, due to contact with viruses hitherto restricted to these isolated places. Now, research by researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia, in partnership with scientists from the United Kingdom, India and Ethiopia, has determined which cities on the planet have the greatest potential for the emergence of future pandemics. And there are many.

The study, which was released in One Health, divides cities into yellow, orange and red alert zones, taking into account the likelihood of disease in these areas.

Most of these cities, cites an article published in the magazine Galileu, are located in South and Southeast Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the researchers, more than 40% of the world’s big cities are at risk of becoming the epicenter of a new fatal disease. In addition, between 14% and 20% of these cities contain poor health infrastructure, making them unable to effectively deal with possible pandemic viral pathologies, the research warns.

Categorization

To identify the highest risk areas, scientists took into account factors such as the spaces where human coexistence with wildlife is most significant, explains Galileu. These urban centers are thus included in the “yellow” and “orange” alert for bidirectional interactions between humans, domestic animals and wildlife.

In a second step, the researchers identified areas with precarious health systems and mapped adjacent cities that are highly connected to the risk zone, thus being able to serve as channels for potential unknown pandemics, Galileo also cited by the website Notícias ao Minuto.

“This is the first time that this three-stage geography has been identified and mapped, and we want it to be able to inform the development of surveillance at various levels of infections in humans and animals to help prevent the next pandemic,” if in the article.

However, stresses Michael Walsh, the study’s leader, although the poorest countries have most cities in areas classified as at greatest risk of spread, most developed countries have many cities included in the risk layers because of the impact they have on wildlife , through the pollution they emit and massive industrialization.

“With this new information, people can develop systems that incorporate human health infrastructure, animal husbandry, conservation of wildlife habitat and movement from transportation centers to prevent the next pandemic,” says Walsh.





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