Wednesday: Public Health Depends On Well-Being Of Other Animals, The Environment | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday: Public Health Depends On Well-Being Of Other Animals, The Environment

Jan 27, 2020

While many people think of bats as pests, they are productive pollinators and eat a lot of mosquitoes. One bat eats roughly 6,000 mosquitoes in 24 hours.
Credit University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” during the noon hour Wednesday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

The director of the St. Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine, Dr. Sharon Deem, wants more people to understand just how much human health is dependent on the health of other animals and the environment.

She often shares the fact that since 2006, about seven million bats in the U.S. have died from a disease called White-nose syndrome. The often-fatal disease derives from a fungus that arrived in the U.S. from Europe in 2006. While many people think of bats as pests, they are productive pollinators and eat a lot of mosquitoes. One bat eats roughly 6,000 mosquitoes in 24 hours. 

Deem is concerned that without predation from bats, mosquitoes are allowed to populate in huge numbers — the same mosquitoes that spread deadly viruses to humans.

Focusing on the interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment is the main focus of the CDC’s “One Health” movement, in which the St. Louis Zoo is a leader. 

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske will talk with Deem about emerging public health issues, everyday solutions to global threats and the St. Louis Zoo’s role within the One Health movement. 

Have a question or comment about One Health? Tweet us (@STLonAir), send an email to talk@stlpublicradio.orgor share your thoughts via our St. Louis on the Air Facebook group, and help inform our coverage.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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