Despite increasing air travel across the globe, this type of travel continues to play a small role in the movement of infectious diseases, according to a study in Proceedings of the Academy of National Sciences.
In the article below, one of the study researchers, Dr Kris Murray, from the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, told a reporter that: "While human activities have certainly contributed to the spread of infectious diseases into new places, on the whole, patterns of human infectious disease still look quite similar to patterns of wildlife biodiversity.This is probably because they follow similar ecological rules."
The researchers said their findings are good news in that diseases, particularly those that are vector-borne, remain largely restricted within certain borders.
They added that their data present an opportunity to study the spread of infectious diseases, perhaps even before new viruses emerge. This data, could, in turn, lead to preventive strategies to help eliminate the spread of illnesses into new regions.
Information like this "can potentially help us monitor changes in the distributions of diseases in a changing world, such as what is happening with climate change or increasing human travel and trade. It could also mean more rapidly identifying where emerging diseases come from, or perhaps even helping to discover completely new pathogen species before they have the opportunity to emerge," according to a quote in the article.
Read more about the report below.
Human infectious diseases are unlikely to reach the same level of globalisation as the people who transport them, according to new research. More international travel than at any time in history means that human infectious diseases have a greater opportunity to hitch a ride with human travellers and develop into international epidemics, like SARS, MERS and HIV.