Emergence of zoonoses such as COVID-19 reveals the need for health sciences to embrace an explicit eco-social conceptual framework of health and disease

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Abstract

An accurate understanding of why zoonoses such as SARS-CoV-2 are emerging at an increased rate, is vital to prevent future pandemics from the approximately 700,000 viruses with zoonotic potential. Certain authors have argued that the consumption of wildlife, or human contact with bats was responsible for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. Others argue that a range of anthropogenic environmental degradations have played a vital role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and other zoonoses. In this opinion piece, I argue that these divergent viewpoints stem, in part, from different foundational conceptual frameworks - biomedical individualist and eco-social frameworks, respectively. Based on the fact that the eco-social framework provides a more complete account of the different types of causal factors underpinning the emergence of zoonoses, I propose that the COVID-19 pandemic provides an additional reason for the health sciences to ground its theory of health and disease in an eco-social conceptual framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100410
JournalEpidemics
Volume33
ISSN1755-4365
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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