With respect to biodiversity and human health, scientist Peter Daszak of the US-based Wildlife Trust, says the emergence of new human diseases from wildlife such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, and H5N1 avian influenza is a significant threat not just to public health and conservation but also the global economy.
Such deadly diseases impede wildlife conservation as pressure builds to eradicate reservoir populations and cause disruption to agriculture and trade, tourism and other key economies.
"The single outbreak of SARS cost US $30-50 billion and a truly pandemic H5N1 avian flu outbreak would cost an estimated US$300-800 billion," says Dr. Daszak.
He argues that disease emergence and spread can be predicted based on human environmental and demographic changes that underlie the emergence of these diseases.
"Such studies may ultimately allow us to identify the likely region of origin of the next zoonosis and provide strategies to prevent disease emergence and spread."
The conference will conclude with a major plenary, chaired by leading expert Lijbert Brussaard, of Wageningen University, The Netherlands, on ways to reconcile the competing Millennium Development Goals of protecting biodiversity, reducing world hunger and alleviating poverty.
|Contact: Terry Collins|