Infectious diseases are on the rise in wildlife populations around the world, threatening Florida’s manatees and other endangered species. Although the diseases may not get as much media attention as those affecting domesticated livestock, nasty microbes of all sorts are becoming more active in previously unexposed wild areas, says Peter Daszak, a wildlife disease researcher. He calls the threats “pathogen pollution.” Why the jump in infectious outbreaks? Cheryl Woodley of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that climate change, habitat degradation, and farm runoff into rivers and bays are big contributors to the problem.

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