Why most pandemics originate from Asia or Africa?


Why is it so that the epidemics commonly originate within Africa and Asia and why to expect more epidemics in these regions?

COVID-19- is a deadly, infectious disease that resulted in a pandemic worldwide. This infectious disease is a global threat leading to severe illness in patients and many deaths. Epidemics have been seen in human history but for now, these epidemics have risen a lot. During the past 20 years, many strains of coronaviruses have emerged causing the 3 major outbreaks worldwide. The most worrying thought regarding these epidemics is that the duration between these three epidemics has shortened to a major extent. These coronaviruses are the type of zoonotic viruses that transmit from animals to humans and result in deadly infections, according to the virologist and associate director of the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at Penn State University. Most of these pandemics have one thing in common which is that these deadly viruses resulted in dreadful conditions within Asia and Africa. Have a look at the reasons why these epidemics are on the verge within these two regions:


The unprecedented shift within the human population in such regions tells us why the diseases originate more in Asia and Africa. Rapid urbanization is seen within Pacific regions and Asia where most of the people already live i.e. around 60-70%. World Bank states that around 200 million people relocated towards the urban area within East Asia during the 21st century which means that it is the eighth-most populous state within the world. This relocation means that the forest area is destructed and is transformed into a residential area. This transformation of the forest into the residential area leads to the close movement of wild animals to the humans and inevitably more encounter of the human population with the domestic animals. The zoonotic viruses are usually present in wild animals such as bats and have excess viral loads. These viruses can jump from one species to another leading to infections within the people.

This extreme urbanization eventually results in a vicious cycle i.e. more population leading to more deforestation, more expansion of humans and then the loss of habitat i.e. death of the predators who feed on rodents. When there is a sharp decline in the number of predators, there will be a rise in the number of rodents. The studies conducted in Africa show that this further results in an increasing rise in the zoonotic diseases and ultimately epidemics in the region. The situation will eventually get worse because many people are relocating and choosing urbanization.


Tropical regions are rich in host biodiversity which shows that there is a high chance of emergence of the novel pathogens. In Asia and Africa, the farming system does not help and families depend on subsistence farming and supply of the livestock. The food supply, control of the diseases and housing for cattle, pigs, and chickens are extremely limited due to which this results in the emergence of epidemic diseases, especially in these regions. Other than the farms, live animal markets are also common within Africa and Asia. These places also have crowded conditions where intimate mixing and contact are seen within different species especially humans. These intimate mixing can increase the risk of the emergence of killer pathogens worldwide, especially in these areas. Butchering and bushmeat hunting is commonly seen in Africa and Asia where the animal species are threatened which leads to the vast change in the ecosystem. Bushmeat hunting plays a key role in the transmission of zoonotic diseases. Other than these traditional Chinese medicines also includes the body parts of wild animals like tigers, pangolins, bears, and others. These medicines result in a major interaction between the wild animals and humans causing immediate transmission of zoonotic diseases.


We should try and control the global crisis as soon as possible while managing the ecosystem because after this recent pandemic due to coronavirus, it’s just a matter of time that the world will face another such epidemic condition. The recent coronaviruses that led to the epidemic occurred due to the jumping off of viruses from bats to humans leading to infectious disease. It is still not known how these pandemic situations occur but a certain ecological disturbance in the environment by humans leads to these changes. In the current outbreak, we have learned that the infectious disease which appears in one part of the world can spread globally within days or months within no time. There is an urgent need that conservative and constructive strategies should be followed to reduce the interactions between animals and humans and prevent deforestation. It is better advised that the competitive global surveillance system should be active so that it serves as an indispensable tool for helping us fight against deadly infections worldwide.


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