Emerging human infectious diseases and the link to global food production
Here, we synthesize the pathways by which projected agricultural expansion and intensification will influence human infectious diseases and how human infectious diseases might likewise affect food production and distribution.
Feeding 11 billion people will require substantial increases in crop and animal production that will expand agricultural use of antibiotics, water, pesticides and fertilizer, and contact rates between humans and both wild and domestic animals, all with consequences for the emergence and spread of infectious agents. Indeed, our synthesis of the literature suggests that, since 1940, agricultural drivers were associated with >25% of all — and >50% of zoonotic — infectious diseases that emerged in humans, proportions that will likely increase as agriculture expands and intensifies.
We identify agricultural and disease management and policy actions, and additional research, needed to address the public health challenge posed by feeding 11 billion people.