World Zoonoses Day

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim

The World Zoonoses Day is observed on 6th of July annually.  The word zoonoses have been derived from the Greek word “zoon” which means “animal” and noses means “ailment”. This day is observed to create awareness on zoonotic diseases and how shall we prevent them.  In 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully managed the first vaccine against Rabies virus.  Zoonoses are viral diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to other animals. There are about 150 known zoonotic diseases.

People can get infected when they come directly in contact with infected live poultry, reptiles, rodents, insects, amphibians and other domestic and wild animals.


·         Plague

·         Tuberculosis

·         Cat scratch fever

·         Hantavirus

·         Tick paralysis

·         Salmonellosis

·         Rabies

·         Scabies

·         Roundworms

·         Hookworms

·         Harvest mites

Zoonoses can be transmitted in various ways:

·         Through the air

·         By consuming contaminated meat

·         Through close or direct contact with an infected animal

·         Through insect bites like mosquitos or ticks

·         Petting zoos are also common places for a zoonotic disease to be transmitted.

·         Those who live and work on farms are in close contact with many types of livestock- a common carrier of many zoonoses.

·         Your pet can carry ticks and fleas that can move onto you and your family.

Why are the risks of Zoonotic Diseases increasing?

There are several trends that trigger the rise of zoonotic. Deforestation and the destruction of eco-systems are bringing people closer in contact with wildlife. For example, consuming bush meat as a food source has been a source of many emerging zoonotic diseases like SARS and HIV. Increased temperatures have also become one of the concerning factors where ranges of disease vectors like mosquitos or ticks are expanding. Hence, the areas where disease did not exist are now being exposed to it for the first time. This has been observed in West Nile in the United States. And finally, globalization, the increase in international travel, and trade between nations is one the major cause through which the diseases can spread from one region to another.  


What are the impacts of zoonotic disease?

Zoonotic diseases have caused extensive human suffering and death. Rabies, a disease transmitted by dogs kills 160 people per day though it is a vaccine-preventable disease. Influenza viruses circulating in farm animals also give rise to human pandemics with dramatic consequences. Outbreaks of such zoonotic diseases can be disturbing for the economies of both developed and developing nations. The 2014/2015 outbreak of avian influenza, or “bird flu”, in the U.S. has led to 48 million birds being euthanized. It was an estimated US$3.3 billion loss to the economy.

How to avoid zoonotic diseases?

·         Wash your hands thoroughly.

·         Use insect repellent or other methods to keep mosquitos, fleas, and ticks away.

·         Practice safe food handling.

·         Avoid being bitten or scratched by an animal.

·         Have your pets vaccinated and take them for regular visits to the veterinarian.

·         Don’t eat, drink, or touch your eyes or mouth while you’re handling or in close contact with animals.

·         Use gloves if you need to handle an animal that appears to be sick.

·         Keep the areas clean where animals are kept.

·         Be aware of areas where animals or insects might be when you’re out in nature, especially when you go for activities like hunting and camping.

·         Do not handle or approach any animal in the wild that appears sick. Always contact animal control or the local government to remove the sick animal.

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