Zoonotic Disease


Zoonotic diseases jump from animals to humans and back. As we live closer and closer to other species—thanks to human migration into animal territory, exotic pets and, most importantly, air travel—fur, feather, skin and scales are no longer barriers, and microbes have an easy commute. Built for survival, zoonotic viruses and bacteria expertly mutate to accommodate any host. Insects, rats, bats—all are efficient incubators in motion.

Ebola, monkeypox, salmonella, malaria, Hendra virus and anthrax, among others, move from host to host by hitching rides in bush meat or in your cat. The microbes mutate as they travel, becoming deadly, not to the host species, but to the unlucky recipient upon touchdown. These photographs were taken in Congo, Australia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the USA. All over the world, population pressures and hunger have blurred the ancient separation of the species.