Can we feed 11 billion people while preventing the spread of infectious disease?

Can we feed 11 billion people while preventing the spread of infectious disease?
Jason Rohr, the Ludmilla F., Stephen J. and Robert T. Galla College Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. Credit: University of Notre Dame

Within the next 80 years, the world's population is expected to top 11 billion, creating a rise in global food demand—and presenting an unavoidable challenge to food production and distribution.

But a new article published in Nature Sustainability describes how the increase in and the need to feed everyone will also, ultimately, give rise to human infectious disease, a situation the authors of the paper consider "two of the most formidable ecological and public health challenges of the 21st century."

The article, "Emerging human infectious disease and the links to global food production," is the first to draw connections between future population growth, agricultural development and infectious disease. 

"If we start exploring how increasing population and agriculture will affect human diseases, we can prepare for and mitigate these effects," said Jason Rohr, the Ludmilla F., Stephen J. and Robert T. Galla College Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. "We need to anticipate some of the problems that may arise from an explosion of human population in the developing world."

According to the article, the fastest area of population growth expected by the year 2100 will occur in the where disease control, surveillance and access to health care already face significant challenges. Currently, some estimates suggest that infectious disease accounts for 75 percent of deaths in developing countries in tropical regions. Each year in the United States, an estimated 48 million people suffer from foodborne infections, and foodborne illnesses have been linked to imported food from developing countries—where sanitation and food safety is lacking or poorly enforced. Of that number, 128,000 are hospitalized and approximately 3,000 people each year die from foodborne infection.

As the world's population grows, the state of rural economies, use of agrochemicals and exploitation of natural resources, among other factors, are poised to further contribute to infectious disease outbreaks. "There are many modern examples where high human contact with farm animals or wild game is a likely cause of new human diseases that have become global pandemics," such as avian and swine flu, and mad cow disease, Rohr said.

Rohr, who also works as part of Notre Dame's Environmental Change Initiative and the Eck Institute for Global Health, studies human schistosomiasis, a worm infection transmitted from snails to humans in many tropical and subtropical parts of the world.

Through that research, he has seen firsthand how farming practices can affect disease because the snails thrive in waters with algae that grow prolifically in areas of agricultural runoff containing fertilizer. The primary predators of snails are prawns that migrate to estuaries to breed, but these estuaries often become unreachable because of dams installed to facilitate the irrigation of cropland.

"There is the perfect storm with schistosomiasis: Agriculture has decimated snail predators, irrigation ditches provide more snail habitat, and fertilizer use causes the proliferation of snail food," he noted. "Agriculture is important for nutrition that can be crucial for combating disease, but the right balance needs to be struck."

Rohr and collaborators offer several potential solutions to various challenges, such as improving hygiene to combat the overuse of antibiotics to promote the growth of . They also suggest that farmers add genetic variability to their crops and animals to reduce epidemics caused in part by monocultures and too many closely related animals living in close quarters.

Other solutions include enhancing education and health literacy, which has been documented as a major factor in reducing infections. The researchers also suggest investing in predictive mathematical models that integrate associations between agricultural practices and . These models could forecast risk across spatial scales to facilitate targeting preventive and mitigating measures.


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More information: Jason R. Rohr et al. Emerging human infectious diseases and the links to global food production, Nature Sustainability (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41893-019-0293-3
Journal information: Nature Sustainability

Citation: Can we feed 11 billion people while preventing the spread of infectious disease? (2019, July 2) retrieved 25 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-billion-people-infectious-disease.html
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Jul 02, 2019
No we cant. Next question.

Jul 02, 2019
Deaths in the U.S. from infectious diseases dropped from 800 per 100,000 in 1900 (0.8%) to 46 in 2014 (0.046%). The trend is similar in every wealthy, post-industrial country in the world. The main factor is increased wealth, which brings improved nutrition, health, resistance to disease and natural disasters, and longevity. We see similar trends in many poor countries, though they are in the early phase of modernizing, and they benefit from technological innovations developed by wealthy countries. So the worldwide trend, even among many poor countries, shows decreasing extreme poverty and increased nutrition. See here:

https://ourworldi...-poverty

and here:

https://ourworldi...rishment

Globally, the major causes of death are changing as societies evolve:

https://ourworldi...of-death

So, according to the data, we can (and will) feed 11 billion people and reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

Jul 03, 2019
Things are better than ever before in human history. The population is now predicted to top out at 12 million and begin to decline.

Population will be reduced as people become more and more better off. From NYC to Nigeria.

Jul 03, 2019
We could effectively feed even 10 times that amount with proper technologies being developed. Food can be produced in large bioreactors, with nuclear energy. We'd have to identify some good bacteria and yeasts for this and basically grow them on easily produced substrates (e.g. hydrogen) and then turn those into food.

It would work with plants too, but they'd have to be grown in vertical farms, with artificial light.

Jul 03, 2019
We would do better to search for ways to stabilize and/or reduce population growth.
We won't do that.

Jul 03, 2019
So, according to the data, we can (and will) feed 11 billion people and reduce the spread of infectious diseases
We live on a little island amidst a vast sea of pollution, environmental degradation, dwindling water supplies, and rampant religion-fueled overgrowth.

The fleeting window of stability created by all the wars of the second half of the 20th century, is almost past. Hordes of excess peoples are pouring across our borders, fleeing devastation that you all remain ignorant of because your darling media sources feed you the rosy bedtime stories youre all so eager to hear.

Things can go from tranquil to calamitous in a breathtakingly short period of time. Pre-napoleon/french revolution, pre-great depression, pre-mongol... the majority of people lived in the same comfortable delusions as you. Overpopulation rises like the tsunami. And each time it rises faster and farther than before, because of our obsession with technology.

Malthus is inexorable.

Jul 03, 2019
We would do better to search for ways to stabilize and/or reduce population growth.
We won't do that
Dog the godlover cannot accept the true nature of the thing that has saved us to this point. Since roe v wade 1974 we have ABORTED over ONE BILLION people. And we have preempted a comparable number through contraception. This has reduced the potential population of the world by perhaps 1/3, mainly in the developed western world, which is the only reason why the planet hasnt been consumed by thermonuclear fire.

But this has only given the ancient religion-dominated cultures the chance to grow unabated, and fill in the gaps.

THAT cup now runneth over, flooding our borders and ruining the regions they are fleeing from.

A fisherman on a beach watches the water recede and begins picking up all the stranded fish. "The fishing has never been better!" he proclaims. But then he notices a roar in the distance and drops all the fish.

How long can you tread water?

Jul 03, 2019
We could effectively feed even 10 times that amount
NO we cant.
with proper technologies being developed
NO theyre not.

Run. Thats not the tide going out.
From NYC to Nigeria
Nigerias population has grown 30% in 10 years. Double by 2024. 25% unemployment in 2018.
https://www.ceicd...pulation

Boko Haram - least 1,200 people died and nearly 200,000 were displaced in the northeast in 2018
Conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farmers - 1,600 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced

-Only a few symptoms of approaching critical instability and collapse, typical throughout the region.

ITS ALREADY TOO LATE.

Jul 03, 2019
The 2nd biggest killer of the 20th century

"During the 20th century, it is estimated that smallpox was responsible for 300–500 million deaths. In the early 1950s an estimated 50 million cases of smallpox occurred in the world each year."

-Thats primary deaths as well as decendants to 3rd and 4th gen, just like ABORTION.

-A disease which affected mostly third world pops, and which we have successfully eradicated... but leaving the incipient religion-based cultures DESIGNED for maximum overgrowth intact.

Jul 05, 2019
Ghost, progress is the way, people are the most valuable resource we have. The limit is the sky and that's where we should aim.

Ghost, progress is the way, people are the most valuable resource we have. The limit is the sky and that's where we should aim.

Are you realising that evolutionary progress of humankind is already gravely slowed on our planet, and actually going backwards in most places? Our progress is not defined by the entertainment, material wealth of some, luxury life of some. It is mostly defined by our growth in ethics, good character, empathy, peacefulness, tolerance etc. Do you realise what worsening shortages and depravations do to us since we have overshot the sustainable boundaries of our home planet? Just watch the world news.

Jul 06, 2019
mostly defined by our growth in ethics, good character, empathy, peacefulness, tolerance
"Rude tribes and... civilized societies... have had continually to carry on an external self-defence and internal co-operation - external antagonism and internal friendship. Hence their members have acquired two different sets of sentiments and ideas, adjusted to these two kinds of activity... A life of constant external enmity generates a code in which aggression, conquest and revenge, are inculcated, while peaceful occupations are reprobated. Conversely a life of settled internal amity generates a code inculcating the virtues conducing to a harmonious co- operation (Spencer, 1892)

-The tribal dynamic is the source of human ethics. Ruthlessness against outsiders is just as morally justified as is empathy toward ones own. This is HOW WE THINK, how we feel.

The only way to promote so-called ethical behavior is to promote the perception of the universal tribe.
Cont>

Jul 06, 2019
Tribalism created the human species, borne of tech-driven overgrowth. We didn't evolve, we were husbanded, bred for the ability to eschew our natural instincts in favor of the very unnatural demands of tribal life.

And intrinsic to tribalism is growth at the expense of other tribes. Overgrowth elicits tribal behavior, which generates more growth. See the dilemma?

Because of tech, overgrowth is inevitable. To reduce tribal behavior we need to halt and reverse growth. Everywhere. Tech itself has finally given us the means to accomplish this, through ABORTION, contraception, and whatever poisons we are ingesting that reduce sperm counts, increase miscarriages, and mangle endocrine systems.

Elsewhere, RELIGION resists these efforts. RELIGION is among the ultimate expressions of tribalism. Like nationalism it thrives on the tribal dynamic. It seeks to eliminate its competitors by outgrowing and overwhelming them. It THRIVES on the perception of enemies.

Either it dies or we do.

Jul 06, 2019
HOW ABOUT THIS

"New Research Shows Most Human Pregnancies End in Miscarriage
BY MICHELLE STARR
AUGUST 01, 2018
"It's treated as a taboo subject, but miscarriages of pregnancy happen a lot.
Well according to a new paper, they happen a lot more than any of us may realise - even the women having them. The research has found that more than half of successful fertilisations will end in miscarriage.

"A 2014 IVF study found that, of 284 successfully karyotyped embryos from young women, 151 had abnormalities in the number of chromosomes - a rate of 53.2 percent.
This sort of abnormality, called aneuploidy, is the most common cause of miscarriages, accounting for 50 percent, and the risk of it rises with age..."

-I had no idea. Questions:

Has it been increasing?
Is it more common in the west?
Is it related to obesity, sedentarism, diet, infection, addiction, environmental contaminants?
Is it possibly an epigenetic response to perceived overcrowding like gaydom and eating disorders?

Jul 06, 2019
First trimester miscarriages, NHS on the causes of miscarriage

First trimester miscarriages are often caused by problems with the chromosomes of the foetus.
Chromosome problems

Chromosomes are blocks of DNA. They contain a detailed set of instructions that control a wide range of factors, from how the cells of the body develop to what colour eyes a baby will have.

Sometimes something can go wrong at the point of conception and the foetus receives too many or not enough chromosomes. The reasons for this are often unclear, but it means the foetus won't be able to develop normally, resulting in a miscarriage.
https://www.nhs.u.../causes/

p.s. It appears to be nature way of survival of the species, for nature has a very difficult and some times unpleasant task to complete, to deliver healthy bouncing babies!

Jul 06, 2019
The reasons for this are often unclear
This is one factor in a long, long list that have served to reduce the birthrate. When taken together with the understanding that overpopulation is still the greatest threat facing civilization today, it appears that the Plan is to reduce the birthrate by any and all means.
https://medicalxp...iet.html
p.s. It appears to be nature way of survival of the species, for nature has a very difficult and some times unpleasant task to complete, to deliver healthy bouncing babies!
We are not a natural species. We're domesticated. The result is a relatively sickly creature with an oversized brain, overactive immune system, ungainly posture, chronic pain, etc.

Add to this a tropical repro rate that has remained unchanged since we WERE wild, and we should expect to find all sorts of instinctive, cultural, and genetic ways of reducing overgrowth and eliminating the unfit.

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