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How human beliefs and bodies create pandemics

Image courtesy of MIT Press

Humans like to put the responsibility and blame of diseases and pandemics on the viruses causing the illness, or a diseased monkey that came in close contact with a human, or a civet cat being sold in a meat market. But we don’t seem to want to take any responsibility for OUR role in mass outbreaks – our behaviors, beliefs, the ways we have negatively altered the natural world, to name a few.

Without this acceptance of how humans impact and cause pandemics, we don’t stand a chance at mitigating the next one. Sabrina Sholts, curator of biological anthropology at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and author of the new book, “The Human Disease: How We Create Pandemics, from our Bodies to our Beliefs,” talks about humans' role and responsibility in diseases and pandemics.