If you’re a germaphobe, make sure you’re sitting down.
Back in 1999, a woman in California cleaned up rodent droppings in her home. Two weeks later, her liver started failing. Then she started to bleed internally — a hemorrhagic fever that would kill her. Eventually doctors found a new virus in her body, which very likely came from a rat.
Over in the Midwest, the problem has been new tick-borne diseases, some deadly. And in New England, doctors are dealing with a disease that causes Lyme-like symptoms but is caused by a different bacteria.
The pattern continues across the country and across the world. A spike in new infectious diseases is the new normal.
Source: NPR analysis of EcoHealth Alliance data
Credit: Michaeleen Doucleff, Brittany Mayes and Katie Park/NPR