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Tackling zoonoses in a crowded world: Lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abstract

The COVID-19 zoonosis is bringing about a number of lessons to humanity. One is that of transforming our links with nature and, particularly, wildlife given the likely COVID-19 origin from illegal wildlife trading. Similar to vector borne diseases (VBD, diseases transmitted by vectors), the COVID-19 pandemic follows related patterns (e.g. no effective or available vaccines, difficult to diagnose, highly localized infection geographical foci, non-human reservoirs) for which we urgently need preventive measures. Towards this aim, governments worldwide must strive to prevent further devastation of natural environments that serve as buffer areas to humans against zoonotic agents (among other health risks), protecting biodiversity and its concomitant causes (e.g. global change), and banning use of wildlife of illegal origin. We herein state that some VBD prevention strategies could also be applied to zoonotic disease prevention, including COVID-19 or any type likely to be related to environmental conditions. The occurrence of future pandemic occurrence will depend on whether governments embrace these aims now.

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