Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Spread of human disease from animals mapped

By Helen Briggs BBC News
4 hours ago

Scientists say they have developed a better way to predict how animal diseases can spill over into humans.

Their model for Lassa fever, which is spread by rats, predicts that there will be twice as many human cases of the disease in Africa by 2070.

The method can be applied to other disease threats such as Ebola and Zika, they say.

Like the Ebola virus, the Lassa virus causes haemorrhagic fever and can be fatal.

Lassa fever virus currently affects between 100,000 and one million people a year in western sub-Saharan Africa.

A rat found in parts of the continent can pass the virus to people.

Scientists led by Prof Kate Jones of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at UCL looked at about 400 known outbreaks of Lassa fever between 1967 and 2012.

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