It might seem odd to write about a health event on a natural history site, but with over 50 percent of human diseases are “zoonotic” they can spread between animals and people. Malaria, dengue, and many other mosquito-born diseases can be spread or controlled depending on human environmental responses. Recognizing that humans are part of nature and the natural history of our islands is one point this site hopes to highlight.
On Maui (and greater Hawai’i) you may have heard about the concern about the spread of “Rat Lungworm Disease” – a really unpleasant, brain-eating disease that is hosted by several mollusk species and should end up in a rat as a final host. In the cases where a human gets exposed, severe illness and even death are possible outcomes. We hope to target both rats and mollusk host species in the upcoming City Nature Challenge, hopefully understanding the natural history of the hosts on our islands while illuminating where the disease might spread more easily.
If understanding the relationship between animals, humans and environment is up your alley, then the One Health Initiative is something to learn more about. Check out the One Health Day page for more details about the event and the initiative in general.