From: Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
Published June 22, 2017 10:35 AM

Critical gaps in our knowledge of where infectious diseases occur

Today Scientists have called for action. The scientific journal Nature ecology & evolution have published a joint statement from scientists at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen and North Carolina State University. The scientists call attention to a serious lack of data on the worldwide distribution of disease-causing organisms. Without this knowledge, predicting where and when the next disease outbreak will emerge is hardly possible. Macroecologists hold the expertise to create the needed data network and close the knowledge gaps.

We lack fundamental knowledge about the global distribution of a wide range of disease-causing species from viruses and bacteria to parasites. The joint warning, published today in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, comes from scientists in Denmark and the US. Lead-author Assistant professor Anna-Sofie Stensgaard from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, explains,

- Today, we know less about where diseases-causing organisms occur, thanthe global distribution of most mammals, birds and even ants. Without this basic knowledge it is very hard to predict if, for instance, certain bacteria or parasites, transmitted via mosquitoes or other bloodsucking insects, are likely to spread or not, and what measures we must take in order to prevent this.

Read more at Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

Image: We have more knowledge about the distribution of rare and cryptic species of birds than rare and deadly viruses. (Credit: C. Rahbek, L. A. Hansen, J. Fjeldså, One-degree resolution database of the global distribution of birds ((The Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012))

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