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        The Spread of Disease | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        Science journalist Sonia Shah explains the history of microbes that cause widespread disease outbreaks. Using cholera as an example, she explains how a microbial disease can become pandemic. She also tracks contemporary epidemics of Ebola, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease, and identifies habitat disruption and crowding as major threats. She spoke as part of the 2016 IdeaFestival in Louisville, Ky.

        How do microbes spread? | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        Cholera spread from wetlands in India to people all over the world. Like many microbes, it made the leap to humans when humans moved into wildlife habitats, then it spread through global transportation networks and crowded, unsanitary cities.

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        Tracking Contagion: Ebola | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        The mixing of humans and wildlife in the same habitat led to the transfer of the Ebola virus from fruit bats to humans in 2014.

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        Tracking Contagion: West Nile Virus | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        Disrupted habitats for birds, and a decline in bird species that eat mosquitoes, may have contributed to the outbreak of West Nile virus in the United States.

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        Tracking Contagion: Lyme Disease | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        Urbanization in the Northeast U.S. drove away some tick-eating animals, increasing the population of ticks.

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        New Threats: Crowding in Slums and Factory Farms | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        Dense populations of both humans and animals can lead to unsanitary conditions.

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        Early Detection | STEAM: Ideas That Shape Our World

        Scientists can use knowledge of how disease spreads to predict where an outbreak is most likely to happen next.

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