Saturday, May 27, 2023

Bat Virus Jump Zones

Over a fifth of the human population lives in areas where there is a large risk that a bat bourne disease will spread to humans. Bats carry tens of thousands of viruses. For most of human history we have been in little danger from these viruses because of the minimal contact between bats and humans. Now, because of human incursions into bat habitats the dangers of a virus jumping from bats to humans is on the increase.

In the Bat Lands: Part 1 Reuters has created a map which shows the level of risk of a virus spreading from bats to humans across the whole world. As you progress through Reuter's article the map pans and zooms to identify areas in China, India Brazil and West Africa where Reuters believe there is a chance that a new global pandemic could be caused by a virus jumping from bats to humans. 

Reuter's five part series begins by looking at the history of bat-borne diseases, and how they have caused outbreaks such as Ebola and SARS. The series also examines the factors that are driving the destruction of bat habitats, such as deforestation, mining, and agriculture. Part 5 of the series looks at the challenges of preventing the next pandemic, and what can be done to reduce the risk. It concludes by calling for a new approach to conservation, one that takes into account the risk of pandemics.

Via: The Top 10 in Data Journalism - the Global Investigative Journalism Network's weekly round-up of the best data stories.

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