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Old 07-18-2009, 01:16 PM   #1
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Default Disease runs riot as species disappear, COULD biodiversity protect humans from disease?

Disease runs riot as species disappear
* 01 July 2009 by Debora MacKenzie
* Magazine issue 2715

Disease runs riot as species disappear - environment - 01 July 2009 - New Scientist
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COULD biodiversity protect humans from disease? Conservationists have long suspected it might, and now they have the evidence to back this up.
Keeping complex ecosystems intact is thought to pay big dividends, by preserving natural balances among species that keep animal diseases in check. These includes zoonoses - animal diseases that affect humans.
Quote:
Unlike Lyme disease, hantaviruses spread directly between the animals they affect. "This is the first time anyone has shown anything like this in a directly transmitted disease," says Daszak. Dizney suspects that the more mammal species there are, the closer mice stick to their home territories, as many of the mammals are predators, so mice encounter and infect each other less often. The team hopes this link between human health and biodiversity could boost public support for conserving diverse ecosystems.
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