In recent times, the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) have been a subject of concerns. What is the major reason for rise in the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs)?

Answer: [C] Heavy deforestation

Historically, first disease which resulted due to deforestation and increasing contact between humans and the jungle environment was smallpox. It originated in tropical Asia early in the history of animal husbandry and large-scale forest clearing for permanent cropland and human settlements. Even today, mixing of humans, domestic animals and forest animals/ plants has led to development of several Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs). This is because – ecologically, the infectious diseases are an extension of host–parasite relationships.

They are integral to an ecosystem as much as a predator–prey or plant–herbivore relationships.

The examples of such diseases are HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Yellow fever, Dengue, Chikungunya, SARS, Rabies, Malaria, Leishmaniasis, Sleeping sickness, Leptospirosis etc. The current Ebola strain has been transmitted from fruit bats to humans. This is evidence that deforestation is responsible for deadly outbreaks of diseases.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module