Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1432-1438

Biodiversity loss: Public health risk of disease spread and epidemics

Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, SRM University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Rajan R Patil
School of Public Health, SRM University, Kattankulathur, Chennai - 603 203, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ATMPH.ATMPH_269_16

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Background: Biodiversity and human health are intimately linked to each other, human beings are an integral and inseparable part of the natural ecosystem as human health depends ultimately on the health of its species. Human interference with biodiversity affects ecosystem both structurally and functionally, consequently biodiversity is continuously declining globally. Objective: The objective of this study is to understand the effect of biodiversity loss on dynamics of infectious disease transmission and its impact on the magnitude and impact of epidemics. Methods: This is a literature review. Discussion: Correlation has been observed between decrease in disease frequency with increase in biodiversity. Aregion rich in diversity of species of vertebrates has protective effect against vulnerability of Infectious diseases especially Vector-borne zoonotic diseases. This phenomenon in nature is known as Dilution effect. Biodiversity in host can either lead to amplification or buffering of epidemics. Dilution effect lowers the incidence of the disease among humans while the richness of biodiversity reduces the prevalence of directly transmitted diseases leading to buffering effect. Fragmentation of natural habitat leads to lowered biodiversity leads to higher risk of exposure to diseases. Conclusion: While some human health effects due to biodiversity loss may be direct and easily perceptible while others are indirect may not be appreciated currently. According to the World Health Organization, the adverse health effects brought in by loss of biodiversity far exceeds dangers of implication of climate change to human health. Health professionals should advocate for the preservation of biodiversity as it has a powerful impact on frequency of disease transmission in the community.

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