Did you know that "sixty per cent of all human infectious diseases are caused by either wild or domestic animals"?
That according to April Dembosky's Financial Times interview with natural history author David Quammen ("The Next Human Pandemic," FT Magazine, Oct. 5, 2012). Quammen warns of future dangers facing humanity in his new book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (2012).
Bryan Appleyard reviewed Quammen's book for The Sunday Times, pointing out, "We live in a world seething with infection, and fast-mutating bugs such as the H5N1 bird flu virus" ("Close Your Mouth the Bugs Are Coming," Sept. 30, 2012). Quammen reiterated several times that we have already experienced a major example of the enormous potential of such viruses. AIDS has killed around 30 million people and infected another 33 million (ibid.).
Quammen, Appleyard states, "is concerned about zoonosis, the phenomenon of infectious diseases that leap from animals to humans—H5N1 comes from birds, Ebola probably from bats via apes, and AIDS most likely from chimps." With more and more air travel, the risk of another major zoonotic outbreak is increasingly possible.
Dembosky quotes from Quammen's book: "There's no reason to assume that Aids will stand unique, in our time, as the only such global disaster caused by a strange microbe emerging from some other animal . . . Some knowledgeable and gloomy prognosticators even speak of the Next Big One as an inevitability."
Her interview-based article also highlights world travel as a potential problem: "Globalisation is a huge factor. As the human population reaches 7 billion, and an increasing number of us travel with greater frequency . . . the potential reach of infectious disease outbreaks has been vastly magnified."
The Bible is not silent about the risks and potential ravages of disease pandemics. Jesus Christ warned of these pestilences (Matthew:24:7; Luke:21:11), and they are implicit in Revelation 6 (see our PDF reprint article titled "The Horsemen of Revelation "). (Sources: FT Magazine, The Times [London].)