We must tackle neglected diseases

We have always known that some animal diseases can jump species and infect man, but the current figures are startling. Today we know that over 60 per cent of all pathogens that infect humans have their origins in animals, and that the figure rises to 75 per cent for emerging diseases. The worry is that once diseases such as Ebola, Zika, swine and avian flu have jumped from animals to humans, they will spread quickly between people.

For this reason, these diseases attract the most international attention with donor funding following in hot pursuit. Large sums of money are given in response to these high-profile outbreaks not only to protect people in the affected regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, but also to keep the disease from spreading to the countries from which the donor funds come.

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