Deforestation May Be Helping Zika's Spread
For decades, when scientists and researchers focused on pandemics, they looked for vaccines and drugs. The mystery of what caused zoonotic pathogens to jump from animals to humans drew little attention.
"The idea was that something fundamental is going on in this era that is driving all these pandemics," says Peter Daszak, who has studied wildlife and human disease for more than two decades, "but no one was bringing the whole thing together."
Now, a series of studies, built upon research over the past two decades, provides increasing evidence that the loss of forest creates the conditions for a wide range of deadly diseases to jump from animals to humans.