Tool IDs zoonotic disease "superspreaders"

04/23/2013 | SmithsonianMag.com

A new research tool may help identify "superspreaders," the species most likely to be the origin of the next pandemic. Researchers have developed a tool that they used to map links between 140 primate species based on the pathogens they carry and transmit and their geographical ranges, finding that apes, baboons and vervet monkeys are among the most likely suspects. "Our findings suggest that centrality may help to detect risks that might otherwise go unnoticed, and thus to predict disease emergence in advance of outbreaks -- an important goal for stemming future zoonotic disease risks," researchers wrote.

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