Disease Spillback from Humans to Animals

Disease Spillback from Humans to Animals
Human Hand and Black Spider Monkey Paw

Many times animals pass diseases on to humans. However, recent research by scientists at Georgetown University shows disease spillback from humans to animals. In nearly 100 documented cases, humans have given wild animals a disease.

This discovery has implications for the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This virus has shown up in wild white-tailed deer populations in the United States and Canada. Medical researchers are concerned that the virus may mutate in these animal populations providing a reservoir of variants that can spread back to humans.

In addition to the deer, researchers have found the SARS-CoV-2 virus in mink farms, lions and tigers in zoos, and various primates. The “cute” animals seem to be the primary source of viruses because of their proximity to humans. Taking care of the creation involves allowing wild animals to be wild. When animals are domesticated, they can bring their pathogens with them into human homes.

We cannot blame God when a disease occurs in humans that was contracted by improper management of the animals that live around us. The exotic animal business has brought with it some extreme risks to humans. Not only can animals pass diseases to us, but disease spillback from humans to animals is possible and dangerous.

As our knowledge of disease and genetics increases, we learn to prevent ailments in the human population. Understanding the uniqueness of the human genome has become increasingly important in the medical field. Limiting contact with wild animals may help to avoid possible future pandemics.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

References: National Science Foundation posting for April 7, 2022, and the National Laboratory of Medicine