As Biodiversity Declines, Tropical Diseases Thrive
by Eliza Barclay
Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care – namely medicines and vaccines.
But a new paper is a reminder that ecology also has a pretty big say in whether pathogens thrive or die off. Using a statistical model, researchers predicted that countries that lose biodiversity will have a heavier burden of vector-borne and parasitic diseases. Their results appear this week in PLoS Biology.
"The general logic is that the more organisms you have out there, the more things there are that can interrupt the life cycle of disease, and the less concentration you’ll have of any vector," Matthew Bonds, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the paper, tells Shots.
(From NPR Shots - Health News from NPR)