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News & Music Contributors
Tue April 17, 2012
Your pets, other 'species gaps' exist in hunt for diseases that can jump to humans
By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent
HIV, West Nile virus, swine flu, ebola – all are human diseases that are traced to livestock, wild creatures and insects from locations scattered around the globe. It can be harder to think of infectious ailments that didn’t start in animals, and in fact these so called “zoonotic pathogens” are to blame for more than 65 percent of emerging infectious disease events over the past 60 years, according to research.
Yet experts in the field say we’re still doing a crummy job watching for new disease outbreaks in animals that could jump to humans.