All these risks must be considered when planning and implementing cooperation projects in rural development. Preventing or reducing these risks should be an integral component of such projects from the outset.

When man and beast come into contact ...

Weak governments, run-down healthcare systems, specific cultural practices, a belated and initially only half-hearted response from the international community, and a lack of biomedical resources to prevent and treat Ebola – all these contributed to the most recent outbreak of the epidemic in West Africa. 28,500 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola since December 2013; 11,300 have died. But there is another important factor that should not be overlooked when considering this epidemic: Ebola is a zoonotic disease, an infectious disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Although AIDS is not actually a zoonotic disease, all known HI viruses come originally from apes. The further people advance into the wilderness to clear the land for rural development, the closer they come to the virus, perhaps an undiscovered one as yet, that could spark the next deadly pandemic.