Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2010 Sep 7;277(1694):2587-95. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0340. Epub 2010 Apr 14.

Global drivers of human pathogen richness and prevalence.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology and Keck Behavioral Biology Group, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA.


The differences in the richness and prevalence of human pathogens among different geographical locations have ramifying consequences for societies and individuals. The relative contributions of different factors to these patterns, however, have not been fully resolved. We conduct a global analysis of the relative influence of climate, alternative host diversity and spending on disease prevention on modern patterns in the richness and prevalence of human pathogens. Pathogen richness (number of kinds) is largely explained by the number of birds and mammal species in a region. The most diverse countries with respect to birds and mammals are also the most diverse with respect to pathogens. Importantly, for human health, the prevalence of key human pathogens (number of cases) is strongly influenced by disease control efforts. As a consequence, even where disease richness is high, we might still control prevalence, particularly if we spend money in those regions where current spending is low, prevalence is high and populations are large.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk