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Stanford researchers show how forest loss leads to spread of disease

A group of baboons climbing on an near a van
Image credit: Laura Bloomfield
Apr 8 2020
Fellow, Research, Stanford, Students

Viruses that jump from animals to people, like the one responsible for COVID-19, will likely become more common as people continue to transform natural habitats into agricultural land, according to a new Stanford study.

The analysis, published in Landscape Ecology, reveals how the loss of tropical forests in Uganda puts people at greater risk of physical interactions with wild primates and the viruses they carry. The findings have implications for the emergence and spread of infectious animal-to-human diseases in other parts of the world, and suggest potential solutions for curbing the trend.

Study lead author Laura Bloomfield is a 2013 James and Nancy Kelso Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow.