Disease doesn’t afflict the human species alone. When one spreads massively in the wild, wiping out entire animal populations in a given area, it is known as an epizootic. The rivalry between pathogens and wild animals has been around since the dawn of time.
While viruses and bacteria need hosts to express themselves, animals must protect themselves to perpetuate their species. It’s a never-ending combat that is decisive for the evolution of both.
Microbes have been spreading faster and better than ever before. But what do we really know about these microorganisms?
Meanwhile, animals have to be inventive to battle the invader. What defense mechanisms have they evolved to halt the spread of viruses and bacteria? Animals are capable of extraordinary feats, including confinement, quarantines, self-medication, and cultural and genetic transmission. The suspicious death of a chimpanzee in the Ivory Coast kicks off our quest to understand the extraordinary interaction between animals and pathogens. From the infinitely large to the infinitesimally small, from the steppes of Central Asia to the African rainforests, follow us on a scientific quest in search of epizootics.