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Erin Ross Jun 22
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Tracking outbreaks before they happen

The deer mouse can carry deadly hantavirus (Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / Flickr)

New diseases sometimes evolve from existing human illnesses, but most of the time they come from a disease that already existed in animals. When they make the jump to humans, these viruses can cause major epidemics. A new paper hopes to help predict where these outbreaks might happen, and what animals they might come from.

"Think of the model as a road map that shows where we should put funding and do surveillance," Kevin Olival, a disease ecologist at EcoHealth Alliance and an author of the study, tells Axios.

Why it matters: Zoonotic diseases, which come from animals and include Ebola, Zika, HIV, SARS and many types of flu, sicken millions of people every year.