Habitat Protection: The Next Stage of Virus Outbreak Prevention After Handwashing

The emergence of COVID-19 virus has opened the eyes of many people to the importance of hygiene and sanitation to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Washing hands, wearing mask, physical distancing, and seek medical care early when having fever or flu have become new habits for most people. But, how can we avoid another virus outbreak?

The cause of COVID-19 virus outbreak is zoonosis, an infectious disease that is transmitted from non-human animals to humans. Zoonosis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi from wildlife or domestic animals. Zoonotic disease isn’t new: Ebola, HIV, Avian flu, Zika, Swine flu, SARS, and MERS are another examples.

Many studies shows that zoonotic agents emergence are linked to environmental changes such as spatial expansion of agriculture that result in deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and natural vegetation replacement by crops, as mentioned in a review in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. These caused biodiversity loss and ecological imbalance that potentially increase the risk of zoonotic pathogen emergence.

Therefore, preventing the spread of infectious diseases by following the health protocol is not enough. Building and maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance is also crusial to avoid another virus outbreak. Habitat protection and forest conservation is required to maintain a healthy environment. Let’s support COP in protecting habitat and forest through (donation link)

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