The dangers of Bushmeat

This New Yorker article, The Doomsday Strain, describes the choices that many African families make each day: expose themselves to deadly pathogens or go hungry.

Humans have subsisted on bushmeat for millennia, and in that part of Africa it remains a principal source of protein. It is not easy to convince somebody whose only alternative is hunger and malnutrition that eating monkeys or apes can be more of a threat today than it was for his ancestors. Yet the health risks caused by hunting those animals are enormous—not just for the Africans who kill and eat them but for billions of others throughout the world.

Reading this I wondered if bushmeat is this dangerous why haven’t we seen large scale epidemics before? I suppose it’s because:

  1. We have seen large scale epidemics before.
  2. Now that we’re globalized it’s much easier for them to spread.

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