World Zoonoses Day – 6th July, 2020
Zoonoses or Zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen (it can be an infectious agent such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.) that has jumped from Vertebrate animals to humans or vice versa. Ebola and Salmonellosis are zoonoses, that spread in the early stages of the 20th century. Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can spread from animals to humans or vice versa. It can spread through direct contact, vector-borne or foodborne. From Ebola to Swine flu, there are a lot of zoonotic diseases that get covered.
When Louis Pasture succeeded in finding a vaccine against Rabies Virus (A zoonotic disease), World Zoonoses day was recognized to commemorate the success. World Zoonoses Day is celebrated on 6th July annually all over the world since the year 1885. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness for the risk of Zoonotic diseases.
World Zoonoses Day 2020 – History
Louis Pasture discovered the first vaccine against the Zoonatic infection Rabies that spread in both humans and animals on 6th July 1885. World Zoonotic day is marked on the same day to recognize his success in finding the vaccine. Back then, in 1885, Rabies was one of the biggest zoonotic disease humanity knew. Now there are several zoonotic diseases like Swine Flu, Ebola, Avian influenza and others.
These Zoonotic diseases spread very fast and result in high mortality rates in humans and animals. Such infections cause disruptions of local, National and International trade. It not only affects business, it also impacts big time on the national and global public health. The word Zoonoses derived from Greek where Zoon means animal and noses means Sickness.
Zoonoses or Zoonotic diseases are the infections that spread from vertebrate animals (like Virus, Bacteria and parasites) to humans and vice versa. Animals are the significant carriers of these infections. About 75 percent of the new or existing infections originate in the animals, and most of such diseases that humanity has seen like Rabies Virus, Ebola, ringworm are all transmitted by animals.
When humans infect other animals, it is called reverse Zoonoses or anthroponosis. Veterinary professionals can be the most significant source of spreading awareness of these infections. Veterinarians should be involved in addressing zoonotic diseases. Veterinarians collaborate with people at local, national and international level as a part of the one health initiative to curb such zoonotic infections from spreading.
Different Modes of Spread
Different mediums can spread such an infection. Some of the mediums mentioned below:
Air: The infections spread from animals to humans through the air like influenza or any flu
Insect / Parasite bites: The infection spreads from parasites when it sits on the human body and bites them like mosquitoes spread malaria.
Saliva: The infection spreads to the human when they come in contact with the saliva of the Animals, like the spread of Rabies infection.
Typical species: Some of the zoonotic infection gets transmitted when the intermediate species carry the disease pathogen without getting infected.
Zoonotic infection names
- African sleeping sickness – found in a range of wild animals and domestic livestock – transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly
- Anthrax – found in cattle, sheep, goats, camels, horses and pigs or commonly gazing herbivores – transmitted by inhalation or skin contact of spores.
- Bird Flue – found in wild birds, domesticated birds such as chicken – transmitted by close contact.
- Ebola Virus disease – found in chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, monkeys – transmitted through body fluids and organs.
- Foodborne illness / Diarrhoea – found in animals that are domesticated or for food production – spread through raw or under cooked food made from animals.
- Influenza – found in horses, pigs, Birds and wild aquatic mammals – droplets transmitted through the air.
- Leprosy – found in monkeys, rabbits and mice – transmitted through direct contact including meat consumption.
- Nipah Virus infection – found in rodents and primates – transmitted through contact with infected rodents or contaminated materials.
- Rabies – found in rats and mice – transmitted through the bite of rats but also urine and mucus secretions.
Swine influenza or Swine Flu – found in pigs – transmitted through close contact.
Significance of World Zoonoses Day
The significance of this day is to spread awareness about zoonotic diseases. These are some of the infections caused by the animals that we encounter in our routine life. Rats, rodents, cattle, sheep, pigs, many such as animals, reared for the production of products that are used by humanity in their everyday activities.
Most of the times, neither the people who rear these animals nor the veterinary professionals who treat these animals realize the seriousness of these infections until it takes a severe form. The spread of these infections is rapid; hence it becomes very critical for people to be aware.
People who rear cattle, cow and such animals should know about zoonotic diseases. They can ask for help from veterinary professionals to identify these infections. Understand about the preventive measures, and also vaccinations that can be taken to stay protected from such contamination.
How do you spread awareness about zoonotic diseases? A question frequently asked by people. People can take several precautionary measures to avoid contracting zoonotic diseases. Including simple hygiene activities in your daily routine makes such a huge difference.
- A simple act of washing hands with soap and clean water frequently
- Wearing protective clothing to repellant crèmes to prevent bites from fleas, mosquitoes.
- Preparing, storing and handling food safely
- Avoiding bites and scratches from animals
These practices are especially important for people who deal with animals every day and are at higher risk of contracting a severe illness from zoonotic infections.
What can we do to educate people?
- Veterinarians participate in the One Health initiative, which encourages the collaboration efforts of multiple ways at the local, National and Global level to achieve optimal health for people, animals and our environment.
- Establishing effective communication and strategies across sectors.
- Effect Vaccination programs have to be implemented.
- Include effective bio security measures.
- Large-scale awareness is critical before a new public health threat emerges.
It is now critical for us to be aware of the zoonotic infections, take precautions and preventive measures before it leads us to severe new illness. Let us take baby steps towards having a hygienic routine every day. Let make efforts to keep our surrounding clean, and this will help keep the parasites and rodents away.
Our TINY efforts can make a HUGE difference!