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Press Release 10-227
Biodiversity Loss: Detrimental to Your Health

Infectious diseases on the rise as species disappear

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Illustration with healthy forest on left, deforestation on right, and mosquito and ticks in middle.

Infectious disease transmission links disease vectors, disease hosts and human habitations.

Credit: Nicolle Rager-Fuller, National Science Foundation


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In fragmented forests, biodiversity declines, leading to infectious diseases like Lyme disease.

Credit: Nicolle Rager-Fuller

 

Illustration showing how food and rain lead to more mice and hantavirus and inhalation of virus.

Contact with rodents and their waste puts humans at risk for exposure to hantavirus.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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Photo of a smiling baby.

Human babies begin to accumulate a microbial community when born; by adults, 90 percent of their cells will be microbes. This diversity of microbes can play an important role in preventing disease.

Credit: L. Belden


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Photomicrograph of microbes in the gut of a locust.

Higher microbial diversity in the guts of locusts prevents colonization by pathogens.

Credit: R.J. Dillon


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Photo of research fields in Cedar Creek, Minn.

Sowing research fields in Cedar Creek, Minn., with diverse seeds reduces fungal pathogens.

Credit: NSF Cedar Creek Long-Term Ecological Research Site


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