World Zoonoses Day has a significance to let people know the facts about zoonotic diseases but it has become very important now especially in these covid times. COVID-19, a viral infection turned pandemic has not only disrupted our economies and health infrastructure but also claimed several human lives. Though we don’t know the source of recent coronavirus, originally it was found in mammals like bats. So, it is a little bit too hasty to call it zoonotic infections.
Till now we call it SARS-Cov-2 and kept it in the category of “emerging infectious diseases”. Based on available research till date, the chances of spreading COVID- 19 from animals to humans are quite low. However, in the absence of research, it is not to be called zoonoses, the possibility of it being zoonoses can’t be neglected.
A new report warns about the further outbreaks that can emerge if governments don’t take proactive measures to prevent other zoonotic bacterial diseases.
What is Zoonosis ?
Any infection or disease that is capable of transmitting from vertebrate animals (animals with the spinal cord) to human beings is called zoonosis. To date, more than 200 types of zoonoses are in our knowledge. To make people aware of such diseases, we celebrate World Zoonoses Day on 6 July every year.
Here are some zoonoses examples for better understanding where these animal diseases are capable of transmitting to human bodies.
- West Nile virus
- Lyme disease
- Emerging coronaviruses
Why are coronaviruses seen as zoonotic ?
Coronavirus is changing its variants fastly. Though we are unable to collect enough information about it to be a zoonotic, here are some points to make assumptions stronger.
- In Hong Kong, China, an infection report from a Pomeranian dog to its owner.
- Again in Hong Kong, an infection report from cat to owner.
- Infection from Raccoon dog to human.
- Five tigers infected their caretakers in the zoo.
There are many other reports which support the assumption it to be zoonotic. But research is on and a lot to be known about it. Till then we don’t say it is zoonotic but keep the possibility in mind.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) set out ten recommendations in front of governments to prevent pandemics in the near future with joint efforts.
Ten Practical Steps To Prevent Zoonotic Outbreaks:
In the report by the joint efforts of UNEP and ILRI, it identifies ten practical steps that governments must consider to prevent zoonotic outbreaks in near future. Here we explain these 10 steps.
- Time and money should be Investing in interdisciplinary approaches, including Health so that it would be easy to prevent consequences
- Strengthening the monitoring practices associated with zoonotic diseases, to regulate the approach
- Improving the analytical methods that are accountable of societal impacts of disease as well as cost effective
- There is a need to expand scientific enquiries into zoonotic diseases and see more possibilities to limit them
- Need more instruments and active participation of raising awareness on zoonotic diseases
- To enhance the co-existence of agriculture and wildlife, government need to approach supporting the proper management of landscapes and seascapes that leads to sustainability
- Need of developing food security and livelihoods alternatives which should not dependent on habitats and biodiversity destruction also Incentivize the sustainable land management approaches and practices
- A need to improve biosecurity and control which means identifying the reasons behind the diseases emerging in animal husbandry. Along with that government need to encourage proven methods of controlling zoonotic disease
- In all countries, let’s strengthen the capacities among all health sectors
- Need to operationalize sustainable development planning, monitoring and implementation among other sectors with the One Health approach.
How do common people prevent it from emerging?
We know prevention is better than cure. So, it is always better to stay aware of such bacterial infections. Some small steps can avoid big casualties.
- Wash your hands with water and soaps so often
- Wear protective clothes like masks and gloves
- Spray repellents to avoid fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes
- Avoid animal bites
- Avoid animal scratches
- Make sure your pet is healthy
Zoonoses day not only makes us aware of bacterial diseases but also shows the importance of animal health especially our pets and livestock. Preventing animals from diseases ultimately supports human health. With righteous infection control, let’s gather to fight against the emerging diseases and keep us and our animals healthy.