According to the WHO, an animal should be the likely source of transmission of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), possibly a bat. That’s because coronaviruses are classified as zoonotic, that is, they are transmitted from animals to people.
In recent years, the emergence of various zoonotic diseases – such as Ebola, avian flu, Rift Valley fever, West Nile fever, and Zika virus – have caused countless and financial losses of billions.
In a report published in 2016, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) points out that this specific type of disease is on the rise and worsening as wild habitats are destroyed by human activity.
“Human beings and nature are part of an interconnected system. Nature provides food, medicine, water, air and many other benefits that have enabled people to prosper. However, as with all systems, we need to understand how this system works to do not exaggerate and cause increasingly negative consequences “, says Doreen Robinson, head for Wildlife at UNEP.
According to Robinson, the emergence of zoonoses is linked to the reduction and fragmentation of habitats, illegal trade, pollution, the proliferation of invasive species and, increasingly, climate change.