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Kate E. Jones1, Nikkita G. Patel2, Marc A. Levy3, Adam Storeygard3{, Deborah Balk3{, John L. Gittleman4
& Peter Daszak2

[ For Full Article|^nature06536.pdf]

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a significant burden on global economies and public health1-3. Their emergence is thought
to be driven largely by socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors1-9, but no comparative study has explicitly analysed
these linkages to understand global temporal and spatial patterns of EIDs. Here we analyse a database of 335 EID 'events' (origins of
EIDs) between 1940 and 2004, and demonstrate non-random global patterns. EID events have risen significantly over time after
controlling for reporting bias, with their peak incidence (in the 1980s) concomitant with the HIV pandemic. EID events are dominated
by zoonoses (60.3% of EIDs): the majority of these (71.8%) originate in wildlife (for example, severe acute respiratory virus,
Ebola virus), and are increasing significantly over time. We find that 54.3% of EID events are caused by bacteria or rickettsia,
reflecting a large number of drug-resistant microbes in our database. Our results confirm that EID origins are significantly correlated
with socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors, and provide a basis for identifying regions where new EIDs are
most likely to originate (emerging disease 'hotspots'). They also reveal a substantial risk of wildlife zoonotic and vector-borne EIDs
originating at lower latitudes where reporting effort is low. We conclude that global resources to counter disease emergence are
poorly allocated, with the majority of the scientific and surveillance effort focused on countries from where the next important
EID is least likely to originate.