Human Pathogens: Their Presence and Prevalence
Dunn, R.R., Davies, T.J., Harris, N.C. and Gavin, M.C. 2010. Global drivers of human pathogen richness and prevalence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 2587-2595.
In an attempt to delve a little deeper into the subject of climate change and disease, and looking for some real-world answers, Dunn et al. conducted 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.
The Canadian, New Zealand and U.S. researchers determined that "pathogen richness (number of kinds) is largely explained by the number of birds and mammal species in a region," such that "the most diverse countries with respect to birds and mammals are also the most diverse with respect to pathogens." However -- and "importantly" -- they report that "for human health, the prevalence of key human pathogens (number of cases) is strongly influenced by disease control efforts."
As a consequence of their findings, Dunn et al. state that "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." And, as they continue, "because pathogens are not restricted by political boundaries and local epidemics can rapidly transform into global pandemics, reducing prevalence in one part of the world will also benefit other parts of the world." Therefore, they conclude that "the degree to which these pathogens will affect us in the future depends on how well we mediate their prevalence." And pursuing the course of action they prescribe should be a whole lot easier, more practical, more timely, less expensive and more likely to be successful than trying to change the planet's temperature, as many climate alarmists contend we must do.
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