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Curr Opin Virol. 2013 Feb;3(1):79-83. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Human ecology in pathogenic landscapes: two hypotheses on how land use change drives viral emergence.

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EcoHealth Alliance, 460 W 34th St, 17th Floor, New York 10001, NY, United States.


The emergence of novel viral diseases is driven by socioeconomic, demographic and environmental changes. These include land use changes such as deforestation, agricultural expansion and habitat degradation. However, the links between land use change and disease emergence are poorly understood and probably complex. In this review, we propose two hypotheses for the mechanisms by which land use change can lead to viral emergence: firstly, by perturbing disease dynamics in multihost disease systems via impacts on cross-species transmission rates (the 'perturbation' hypothesis); and secondly, by allowing exposure of novel hosts to a rich pool of pathogen diversity (the 'pathogen pool' hypothesis). We discuss ways by which these two hypotheses might be tested using a combination of ecological and virological approaches, and how this may provide novel control and prevention strategies.

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