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Hantavirus, Plague & West Nile: Are Animal-Borne Diseases on the Rise?

September 8, 2012 Comments off

myhealthnewsdaily

A string of recent reports of people falling ill and dying of diseases that spread to people from animals might have you wondering: Are animal-borne diseases on the rise?

This summer, three people died and eight were infected with hantavirus   — a disease carried by rodents — after visiting Yosemite National Park; a Colorado girl reportedly contracted the plague from flea bites she received while camping; researchers reported the cases of two Missouri men infected with a never-before-seen virus carried by ticks; and nearly 2,000 people across the United States fell ill with West Nile virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.

Experts say the number of new diseases crossing from animals to people   has indeed increased in recent years, from fewer than 20 in the 1940s to about 50 in the 1980s, according to a 2008 study published in the journal Nature. Between 1990 and 2000, more than half of newly identified infectious diseases originated in Read more…