Monday, October 18, 2021

    Neglected zoonotic diseases: World Zoonoses Day, 2020

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    Bisola Akinlabi
    Akinlabi Bisola is a health and meds journalist with a deep background in Public Health Education and with a B.Sc in Health Education and Masters in Public Health Educator. You can catch up on her articles on her website

    6 July was accepted in 1885 as World Zoonotic Day to commemorate the day Biologist Louis Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccine against rabies virus, which is a deadly zoonotic virus which take dogs as its host.

    The significance of World Zoonoses Day feels more germane this year with the world overwhelmed by COVID-19 and other Zoonotic diseases, however not all zoonotic diseases causes pandemic but the infectivity rate is usually high. Protecting animal health possess a great impact on the health of humans too as we both live in the same environment and diseases could transmit from animals to humans.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the global focus from other ongoing zoonotic disease with epidemic potential. Zoonotic diseases accounts for 75% of emerging infectious diseases and can be disturbing to both human and animals. This article intends to highlight zoonotic diseases, their mode of transmission, how it can be prevented and neglected zoonotic diseases


    They are diseases that can be transmitted from animals or insects to humans. Some of these disease make the animals sick also while some has no health effect on the host animals. Zoonotic disease could mild or life-threatening and could even cause death depending on its severity and some other factors. Zoonotic diseases could be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungi or parasite.


    The World Health Organisation confirmed, there are over 200 zoonotic diseases. Here are a few examples:

    Bird flu



    Monkey pox

    Lassa Fever



    Swine Flu

    Salmonella (non typhoidal)


    Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

    Zika virus.




    Zoonotic diseases could be transmitted via various route, which include:


    -Eating contaminated animal products or food.

    -Close contact with infected animals

    -Insect bites.

    -Touching contaminated surfaces.


    -Regular and correct hand washing.

    -Safe food handling and preparation.

    -Use of insect repellants.

    -Avoid bites from animals.

    -Vaccinate  pets.

    -Use gloves while handling animals.

    -Treat sick animals immediately.


    They are denoted as ‘neglected’ as they largely affect poor population who live close to domestic and wild animals mostly in areas with low hygienic practices which are usually in developing countries.

    The WHO recognized eight diseases as Neglected Zoonotic Diseases, which include:


    -Bovine Tuberculosis.






    -Human African Trypanosomiasis.

    Hand washing appears to be an operational disease chain of transmission breaker, for it to be effective, it must be done regularly and correctly. Keep washing your hands and stay safe.

    Hand washing saves lives!






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