"How Forest Loss Can Unleash the Next Pandemic"

"The forests around the epicenter of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak are getting patchier. The next pandemic could emerge from the edges around these patches, where wildlife and humans mix."

"In 2013, the worst Ebola outbreak in history started in a small village in southern Guinea, eventually tearing through West Africa. By the time it ended in 2016, more than 11,300 people were dead. Scientists have linked this and other Ebola outbreaks to specific patterns of deforestation.

To understand why, ProPublica adapted an academic model to show how the way forests are being cut down around the locations of multiple previous outbreaks could increase the risk of another outbreak today.

The West Africa outbreak is believed to have started in Meliandou, a village in southern Guinea nestled within a ring of lush forest. The residents of Meliandou have been clearing patches of forest over the years, creating land for farming and cutting down trees to burn wood for charcoal."

Al Shaw, Irena Hwang, and Caroline Chen report for ProPublica March 16, 2023.


"New Data Links Pandemic’s Origins to Raccoon Dogs at Wuhan Market" (New York Times)

Source: ProPublica, 03/17/2023