Unpacking the Politics of Zoonosis Research and Policy
The chapter focuses on Africa, where zoonotic diseases continue to have a disproportionate effect on human wellbeing and health, but where the institutional and organizational capacities, structures and policies to address them across the fields of conservation, public health, agricultural development and veterinary sciences remain, in many cases, fragmentary and inadequate, intertwined in complex ways with wider questions about governance and poverty alleviation. Outbreaks of zoonotic disease, like Ebola in Liberia and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea, are biological, social and political events. They reveal some very complicated and multi-layered interactions between science and politics and our relationship with other species and the environment. That invisible ribonucleic acid (RNA) strains originating in fruit bats and dromedary camels have the capacity to disrupt our established social, economic and political status quo attest to our deep interconnectedness to nature, and yet how unknown and unpredictable much of it remains to us.