Wildlife diseases are caused by the transfer of pathogens between humans and animals. Over 75% of emerging diseases (such as COVID-19) originate in wildlife. Their spread is exacerbated by deforestation, wildlife exploitation, development, and poor waste management, all of which increase wild animal-human proximity and the chance of wildlife disease spillover.
States are considering a variety of bills to protect against future wildlife diseases. Without action, wildlife diseases will continue to spread, and future pandemics could be even harder to control.
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Approximately one-quarter of human deaths are caused by infectious disease and nearly 60% of infectious diseases are considered zoonotic. However, 75% of newly emerging diseases are zoonotic.
Examples of zoonotic diseases include COVID-19, HIV, malaria, ebola, SARS, bird flu, swine flu, West Nile, and Lyme disease.
Zoonotic diseases are increasing because of population growth, exploitation of wildlife, development and destruction of natural areas, and climate change.