Zoonoses is any disease or infection that is naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans. The term ‘Zoonosen‘ was first used by Rudolf Virchow as s synonym for “infection by contagious animal poisons” whereas Galli-Valerio published a manual with the title of Zoonosi: malattie trasmissibili dagli animali all’uomo (Zoonoses: diseases communicable from animal to man).
According to some other researchers, Zoonosis should cover all human problems derived from animals, including bites, physical and physiological trauma. and even environmental pollution.
Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral, or parasitic or may involve unconventional agents and can spread to human through direct contact or food, water or the environment. Zoonotic diseases can survive and multiply without the presence of man. In rabies, brucellosis, trichinellosis, Man is the dead-end host and therefore not even useful for the perpetuation of the pathogenic agent. The only known exception to this rule are Taenia solium and Taenia saginata, for which man is the unique definitive host.
Who is at risk?
Markets selling the meat or by-products of wild animals, Agriculture workers in the field using a high amount of antibiotics, people living in proximity to wildlife areas with a high number of wild animals are at risk of diseases. Urbanization and Destruction of natural habitat increase the contact between human and wild animals causing a surge in Zoonoses.
Prevention and Control
Almost all the infections classified as zoonoses can only exist where and when animals are present. Veterinary action is necessary for the control of zoonoses. Prevention methods differ from pathogen to pathogen. Standards for clean drinking water and waste removal, safe and appropriate guidelines for foodborne zoonotic diseases as well as protection of natural habitats and environment will play a crucial role in the prevention of zoonotic diseases.
Education Campaigns to promote awareness about zoonoses, promote handwashing after contact with animals and other behavioral adjustments can reduce community spread of zoonotic diseases when they occur. Antimicrobial resistance is a complicating factor in the control and prevention.
To mark the importance of Zoonosis, 6th July is celebrated as World Zoonoses Day.
“The accelerating pace of zoonotic transmission of novel viruses into humans is attributable to anthropogenic epidemiologic factors. Only behavior modification or medical management of this future health burden will minimize the risks of future zoonoses for human populations.”
The Geek Veterinarian