Did agriculture increase infectious diseases

Contrary to popular belief, agriculture has caused decreases in many facets of our lives. These diseases, more aptly termed ‘ diseases of civilization ‘ are directly caused by agricultural and societal ways of living. This increases disease rates as it’s easier for diseases to spread faster through bigger populations.


How does the prevalence of infectious diseases affect agriculture?

High prevalence of infectious diseases among populations that rely heavily on subsistence, labour-intensive agriculture can reduce agricultural productivity, degrade human capital, undermine economic growth and generate conditions that systematically reinforce poverty 48.

How did the Agricultural Revolution affect the spread of disease?

The thing about farming is that as the Agricultural Revolution began, this increased the population size as well as making that population pretty much stable in terms of migrating. This, then, led to higher rates of disease as larger populations foster new kinds of infectious diseases.

Does the advent of agriculture affect health?

However, over a longer period of time, the advent of agriculture is linked to poorer health, vectors of disease and lower quality of life (in terms of intractable disease). Despite what I have claimed in the past about hunter-gatherer societies, they do have lower or nonexistent rates of the diseases that currently plague our first-world societies.

Do different types of Agriculture exacerbate infectious disease risks in Southeast Asia?

This meta-analysis provides broad evidence that occupational or residential exposure to differing types of agriculture can consistently exacerbate infectious disease risks in humans in SE Asia.

When did agriculture start?

When populations around the globe started turning to agriculture around 10,000 years ago , regardless of their locations and type of crops, a similar trend occurred: the height and health of the people declined.

Who led the first comprehensive, global review of the literature regarding stature and health during the agriculture transition?

Mummert led the first comprehensive, global review of the literature regarding stature and health during the agriculture transition, to be published by the journal Economics and Human Biology.

Why is it important to consider the rapid physiological increases in human stature during the 20th century?

Some economists and other scientists are using the rapid physiological increases in human stature during the 20th century as a key indicator of better health. “I think it’s important to consider what exactly ‘good health’ means,” Mummert says.

Is producing food beneficial?

We tend to think that producing food is always beneficial, but the picture is much more complex than that,” says Emory anthropologist George Armelagos, co-author of the review. “Humans paid a heavy biological cost for agriculture, especially when it came to the variety of nutrients.

Was agriculture adopted in an identical fashion and time span across the globe?

One confounding factor is that agriculture was not adopted in an identical fashion and time span across the globe. In some ancient societies, such as those of the North American coasts, crops may have merely supplemented a seafood diet. “In these cases, a more sedentary lifestyle, and not necessarily agriculture, could have perpetuated decreased stature,” Mummert says.

How did agriculture affect human life?

In sum, there were obviously both positive and negative effects on human life due to the advent of agriculture (leaning more towards negative). These range from diseases to increased population size, to ‘social inequalities’ to higher rates of obesity (this evolutionary mismatch will be extensively covered in the future) to a whole myriad of other diseases. These then lower the quality of life of the individual inflicted. However, the rates of these diseases are low to non-existent in hunter-gatherer societies due to them being nomadic and eating more plentiful foods. Agricultural societies become dependent on a few staple crops so when an endemic occurs, there is mass death since they do not know how to subsist on anything but what they have become accustomed to. The advent of agriculture leads to a decrease in stature as well as brain size. Further, agriculture and the processed foods that came with it caused us to become more susceptible to obesity, which was further exacerbated by the industrial revolutions and the ‘nutritional guidelines’ of the 60s and 70s that led to higher rates of coronary heart disease. It is the lifestyle change from agriculture that we have not adapted to yet that causes disease these diseases of civilization that shorten our life expectancies. I do now believe that all people should eat a diet as close to hunter-gatherer diet as possible, as that’s what the preponderance of evidence shows.

What is the assumption that agriculture and disease are the main causes of civilization?

Agriculture and Diseases of Civilization. It is assumed that since the advent of agriculture that we’ve been better nourished than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This assumption stems from the past 130 years since the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the increase in the quality of life of those who had the benefit of the Revolution.

Why did obesity increase in the 70s?

Since insulin causes weight gain, and carbohydrate intake has dramatically increased since the 70s, obesity has increased as a result as countries begin to industrialize and more processed foods are available to the populace. However, since the Industrial Revolution, height has increased along with IQ. Researchers argue that in first-world …

Why are diseases of civilization caused?

These diseases, more aptly termed ‘ diseases of civilization ‘ are directly caused by agricultural and societal ways of living. This increases disease rates as it’s easier for diseases to spread faster through bigger populations.

How does cultural change affect the human body?

These are two ways in which ‘cultural evolution’ (cultural change) have an effect on how the human body grows and adapts to certain stimuli based on the environment around it. The largest cause of the higher disease rate between industrialized peoples and those in hunter-gatherer societies is shifts in life history.

How did farming affect the population?

The thing about farming is that as the Agricultural Revolution began, this increased the population size as well as making that population pretty much stable in terms of migrating. This, then, led to higher rates of disease as larger populations foster new kinds of infectious diseases.

When was maize introduced to Tennessee?

There is evidence that as maize was introduced into eastern Tennessee about 1,000 years ago, a decrease of .87 inches in men and 2.4 inches in women were seen.

How does agriculture affect human health?

Agriculture and AKST can affect a range of health issues including undernutrition , chronic diseases , infectious diseases, food safety, and environmental and occupational health. Ill heath in the farming community can in turn reduce agricultural productivity and the ability to develop and deploy appropriate AKST. Ill health can result from undernutrition, as well as over-nutrition. Despite increased global food production over recent decades, undernutrition is still a major global public health problem, causing over 15% of the global disease burden. Protein energy and micronutrient malnutrition remain challenges, with high variability between and within countries. Food security can be improved through policies and programs to increase dietary diversity and through development and deployment of existing and new technologies for production, processing, preservation, and distribution of food.

How does AKST affect food production?

AKST policies and practices have increased production and new mechanisms for food processing. Reduced dietary quality and diversity and inexpensive foods with low nutrient density have been associated with increasing rates of worldwide obesity and chronic disease. Poor diet throughout the life course is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, which are the leading cause of global deaths. There is a need to focus on consumers and the importance of dietary quality as main drivers of production, and not merely on quantity or price. Strategies include fiscal policies (taxation, trade regimes) for health-promoting foods and regulation of food product formulation, labeling, and commercial information.

Why is strengthening food safety important?

Strengthened food safety measures are important and necessary in both domestic and export markets and can impose significant costs. Some countries may need help in meeting food control costs such as monitoring and inspection, and costs associated with market rejection of contaminated commodities. Taking a broad and integrated agroecosystem and human health approach can facilitate identification of animal, plant, and human health risks, and appropriate AKST responses.

Why is poor diet important?

Poor diet throughout the life course is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, which are the leading cause of global deaths. There is a need to focus on consumers and the importance of dietary quality as main drivers of production, and not merely on quantity or price.

What are the health concerns of AKST?

Health concerns that could be addressed by AKST include the presence of pesticide residues, heavy metals , hormones , antibiotics and various additives in the food system as well as those related to large-scale livestock farming.

How can agriculture help combat infectious diseases?

By improving nutrition, agricultural development should facilitate combating many infectious diseases. For example, death rates from acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, malaria and measles, diseases that on average kill more than a child every 30 seconds (1 million per year) 37, are much higher in children who suffer undernutrition than in those that do not 3, 4. In addition, poor maternal nutrition and associated impaired fetal growth are strongly associated with neonatal death from sepsis, pneumonia and diarrhoea 4; undernourishment is a well-understood risk factor for tuberculosis 38; and micronutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin A deficiency, have been linked to diarrhoea severity and malaria morbidity in some populations 4. Although the traditional Green Revolution approach to food production has succeeded in reducing undernourishment arising from insufficient calorie and protein intake, it has been very slow in reducing micronutrient deficiencies 39, which can be have significant effects on defence against disease. To make matters worse, where violence, unrest and terrorism impede access to food, such as in parts of Africa and central Asia, morbidity and mortality attributed to communicable diseases can be further exacerbated 2.

What percentage of zoonotic diseases are caused by agricultural drivers?

a, b, Agricultural drivers were associated with 25% of all ( a) and nearly 50% of zoonotic ( b) diseases that emerged in humans. For these figures, we use the definition of a zoonotic EID provided by Jones et al. 1, which is a disease that emerged via non-human to human transmission, not including vectors. See Supplementary Methods for the methods used to develop this figure.

How have wetland habitats been lost?

One of the largest drivers of global wetland losses has been conversion to agriculture 53, which has led to declines in diseases that rely on wetland habitats. For example, Japan’s successful eradication of schistosomiasis during the mid-twentieth century relied in part on conversion of wetlands to orchards in schistosomiasis-endemic areas 54, although replacing oxen with horses, which are less susceptible to Schistosoma japonicum, as draft animals is also thought to have contributed substantially 54. Similarly, some of the earliest successes in malaria control at the turn of the twentieth century occurred in the southern United States, where wetland drainage — including for agricultural conversion — was one of a suite of anti-transmission strategies used by the Rockefeller Foundation in its landmark malaria control efforts 55.

How does virulence increase?

As host densities and thus transmission increase, theory suggests that parasite virulence should also increase under some circumstances 111. When virulence of a pathogen is tied to its propagule generation within the body (such as occurs with many viral infections), the intermediate virulence hypothesis posits that an intermediate level of virulence maximizes parasite transmission because it balances producing many parasite offspring (increasing parasite fitness) with detriments to host survival due to pathology (decreasing parasite fitness). The balance in this trade-off determines parasite persistence. Hence, as host densities increase and transmission becomes more frequent, the cost of increased virulence declines, shifting the optimum towards higher virulence 111. Consequently, for pathogens that experience this virulence trade-off, increases in human, crop and livestock densities have the potential to augment both the incidence and severity of infectious diseases.

How does agriculture affect biodiversity?

Ecotones play an important role in a number of important emerging infectious diseases 96, 97, and reduced biodiversity that accompanies agricultural intensification can increase zoonotic disease emergence and can worsen already endemic diseases 98, 99, 100. A recent global meta-analysis suggests that, based on the available literature, such biodiversity losses generally increase infections of wildlife and zoonotic infections of humans 101. However, studies of the relationship between biodiversity change and infectious disease risk tend to focus on a single parasite or disease, often of non-human animals, which limits the ability to determine more broadly the effects of agricultural intensification on the overall burden of infectious disease in human populations 102. Recent studies have found that the local loss of dense forests, largely from agricultural expansion, affected diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections and general fever in Cambodian children 103 and infectious disease incidence in Nigerian children over a decade 104, 105. Proximate causes probably included reduced regulation of microbial contaminants in surface and ground waters, increased smoke from biomass burning, shifts in the ranges of insect vectors and decreased access to forest ecosystem services.

How do pesticides affect parasites?

Pesticides can alter disease risk by modifying host susceptibility to parasites 79, 80, 81. For example, many pesticides are immunomodulators that can increase infectious diseases of wildlife and humans 82, 83, or are endocrine disruptors of humans with potential downstream effects on immunity 84. Even if pesticides do not directly affect immunity, detoxification of pesticides is energetically ‘expensive’ for the host, and thus pesticide exposure can reduce available energy resources for humans and zoonotic hosts to invest into parasite defences 85, 86.

How does economic development help the poor?

In fact, the poor financially benefit more from economic growth in the agricultural sector than in industrial or service sectors 43, 44. The early stages of economic development often involve the construction of infrastructure to facilitate food production and distribution, including roads, dams and irrigation networks 43, 44. More recently, the early stages of rural development often include rapid expansion of telecommunication, and to a lesser degree, electrification, both of which are promising but underutilized resources for disease monitoring and control in the developing world 45. Other rural infrastructure that is more crucial to infectious disease prevention, such as safe water, sanitation and energy supplies, often follows or is developed concurrently 43, 44. In 43 developing countries, rural infrastructure that provided access to sanitation and safe water explained 20% and 37% of the difference in the prevalence of malnutrition and child mortality rates between the poorest and richest quintiles, respectively 46. Moreover, clean water, sanitation and electricity can also facilitate the construction of schools and health clinics that can help to further reduce disease through education, prevention and treatment. Hence, if the history of the developed world repeats itself in the developing world, then it seems plausible that agricultural development necessary to feed 11 billion people might help to reduce infectious diseases by promoting economic development and rural infrastructure.

How does animal agriculture affect humans?

Animal Agriculture Increases the Risk of Pandemics. Three out of every four emerging infectious diseases in humans originate in animals and are in part caused by our reliance on animal agriculture —the farming of animals for food, clothing, and other purposes. 1 These types of pathogens are zoonotic, meaning that they form in animals …

What are the most at risk groups for contracting zoonotic diseases?

Farm and slaughterhouse workers are among the most at-risk groups for contracting zoonotic diseases. They routinely come into contact with animal feces, urine, and blood, making animal-to-human disease transmission highly likely. The H1N1 swine flu strain that infected millions of people and killed over 18,000 in the 2009 pandemic is thought to have first infected pigs on factory farms, where it was transmitted to farmworkers who eventually spread it to members of the public. 9

How can we prevent zoonotic diseases?

One of the most effective ways to decrease the risk of pandemics is to prevent pathogens from emerging in the first place by moving away from animal agriculture. Companies investing in vegan food and cutting ties with animal agriculture would easily spare millions of animal and human lives.

Why are slaughterhouse workers at high risk?

Farm and slaughterhouse employees are also at high risk of human-to-human disease transmission owing to the unhygienic and cramped conditions in which they work . Slaughterhouse workers typically stand shoulder to shoulder at assembly lines, making it impossible to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which country has the most avian flu?

A study found that the majority of avian flu outbreaks in recent years have occurred in high-income countries. 19 Notably, it concluded that the U.S., Europe, and Australia have generated more strains of avian flu than China has.

How much of the world’s meat comes from factory farms?

Ninety percent of the world’s meat supply4 comes from factory farms, and that figure is 99% in the U.S.5 On these farms, cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals are bred and raised by the thousands in cramped and unsanitary conditions, often surrounded by their own waste and deprived of fresh air and sunlight.

Why are animals selectively bred?

On today’s large-scale farms, animals are selectively bred for profitable traits (think larger breasts, faster egg production, etc.). This results in a loss of genetic diversity among a population of animals. For viruses and bacteria, this is an ideal …

How many people infected with foodborne illness each year?

The CDC estimates that each year nearly 3 million Americans are infected with one of two types of foodborne illnesses: Campylobacter and salmonella. With the more common Campylobacter, the majority of all infections can be traced back to chickens contaminated at some stage of industrial production. That tainted product goes to market: A 2015 test by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System found Campylobacter on 24 percent of raw chicken bought from retailers.

Why do farmers give antibiotics to animals?

Nearly 80 percent of antibiotic use in the United States occurs in the agricultural sector, with farmers giving animals antibiotics preemptively in an attempt to safeguard them against diseases in crowded conditions. In several other countries, antibiotics are also given to animals to promote growth (a practice recently curtailed in the U.S. by regulations introduced in 2017). While there is no evidence that antibiotics residues in meat directly harm humans, the overuse of antibiotics contributes to the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in both animals and humans. Drug-resistant infections annually affect 2.8 million people, causing 35,000 deaths each year.

How does factory farming affect E. coli?

Causing 265,000 illnesses and about 100 deaths every year, E. coli infections are a byproduct of factory farming. E. coli naturally occurs in a ruminant’s gut, typically in milder strains that our stomach’s acidity can kill. However, on factory farms, cows that would normally eat grass are instead fed grain, such as corn. This not only fattens cows up faster, producing more marbling in the meat, but it allows farmers to raise cattle in smaller spaces than if they were grazing. Grain-based diets promote the growth of E. coli that can survive the acidity of the human stomach and cause intestinal illness, such as E. coli O157:H7.

How many people died from sars in 2004?

SARS would go on to infect more than 8,000 people worldwide (killing 774) before seemingly disappearing in 2004. While there have been no new cases since then, SARS remains on the World Health Organization’s list of diseases with “epidemic potential.”.

What is the most common source of E. coli?

While the most common source of E. coli is beef, there are some well-known cases of E. coli outbreaks from vegetables, such as romaine lettuce in 2018. In that outbreak, the lettuce may have been irrigated with water that had come in contact with a CAFO.

How many chickens carry salmonella?

Meanwhile, in the case of salmonella, 1.5 percent of whole chickens produced in large plants carry the harmful bacteria, according to the National Chicken Council. Many more outbreaks have been traced to leafy greens that have been fertilized with contaminated manure or irrigated with contaminated water or that have come into contact with contaminated meats during preparation processes.

How do viruses spread?

Typically, these viruses are transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal such as birds or pigs or through contact with an animal’s feces. Rarely will the virus spread from person to person. But when it does, the virus has a chance to start a pandemic.

What are the causes of animal diseases?

10 diseases caused by animal agriculture. Meat-eating has been the cause of many diseases over the years. These preventable zoonotic diseases have killed thousands of people. Talk of zoonotic diseases has increased in public discussion since the rise of COVID-19, however, diseases that are transmitted from humans to animals have had a long history. …

What are some examples of diseases that have spread from animals to humans?

For a better understanding of the history of zoonoses, here are 10 examples of diseases that have spread from animals to humans. 1. Mad Cow Disease.

Why are zoonotic diseases so prevalent?

The prevalence of zoonotic diseases is mostly due to human encroachment on animal habitats as well as human consumption of animals. Contemporary farming practices have only exacerbated these problems. In order to maximize profit, most farms keep animals in cramped, unsanitary facilities where diseases spread rapidly.

How many people died from H1N1?

According to the CDC, the H1N1 pandemic caused the deaths of 284,000 people globally. While vaccines now protect against H1N1, zoonotic diseases are often highly adaptive.

How many cows died from mad cow disease in 1993?

When the outbreak peaked in 1993, this disease killed 180,000 cows and 150 humans. While mad cow disease is not prevalent today, the practices that precipitated this outbreak are, indicating that unless we see changes in the animal ag industries, similar diseases are likely to arise again. 2. Swine Flu (H1N1)

What is the name of the disease that originated as a prion disease affecting sheep?

1. Mad Cow Disease. “Mad Cow Disease ” is a degenerative neurological disorder that originated as a prion disease affecting sheep until it developed into bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and finally, the human variant known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Why do farms keep animals?

In order to maximize profit, most farms keep animals in cramped, unsanitary facilities where diseases spread rapidly. To survive in these squalid conditions, animals are given an excessive amount of antibiotics. The abhorrent treatment of animals in the agricultural industry is obviously detrimental to the animals themselves and the environment.

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