World Zoonoses Day - 6th July

About  :

The word “Zoonoses” is derived from the Greek word ‘Zoon’ meaning animal and ‘Noses’ meaning sickness. World Zoonoses Day is observed annually on the 6th of July worldwide to raise awareness of the dangers of Zoonotic diseases. This day aims to shed light on diseases that originate in animals that can be transmitted to humans and also commemorates the anniversary of first ever vaccine given for any zoonotic disease in 1885.

Zoonotic disease :

Zoonotic disease is a type of infectious disease caused by harmful germs like viruses, bacteria parasites and fungi and can spread from animals to humans and vice versa, either with direct contact with animals or indirectly, vector-borne or food-borne. The diseases can be minor short term illnesses or may become major life changing illnesses.

History  :

French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, who is known for his theory of pasteurization had successfully administered the first ever vaccination for a zoonotic disease to a man bitten by a dog with rabies on this day.

Ways of infection that can cause zoonotic disease :

  1. Direct contact – Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal.
  2. Indirect contact - Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with germs. Examples include aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, barns, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes.
  3. Vector borne – being bitten by a tick, mosquito, insect or flea.
  4.  Food borne – Contaminated food, unsafe drinking, unpasteurized milk and undercooked food can cause illness in people and animals.
  5. Water borne - Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal.

Types of zoonotic diseases :              

  1.  Rabies – This is caused by a virus that is spread by an infected animal biting another animal or person. Rabies is a fatal disease and cannot be treated on the appearance of symptoms.
  2.  Blastomycosis – A rare fungal infection acquired by inhaling the spores of a fungus which is found in wood and soil.
  3.  Psittacosis - is an infectious disease usually spread to humans from infected birds in the parrot family. Humans most commonly catch the disease by inhaling dust containing feathers, secretions and droppings from infected birds.
  4. Trichinosis or trichinellids – It is a type of roundworm infection caused by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the microscopic parasite trichinella.
  5.  Histoplasmosis – It is an infection caused by breathing in spores when they are airborne and often found in bird and bat droppings or during demolition and cleanup projects.
  6.  Coccidiomycosis – It is an infection caused by coccidioides fungus which is found in soil and causes infection when inhaled.
  7. Some other examples of zoonotic disease include animal and bird flu, anthrax, cat scratch fever, dengue, ebola, hepatitis E, malaria, parrot fever, plague, ringworm and swine flu. The most recent example can be the COVID – 19 pandemic.

Preventing zoonotic diseases :

  1. Washing hands regularly with soap and clean, running water, especially before eating and after being around animals.
  2. Alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not available.
  3. Adopting hygienic habits like keeping house clean and using insect repellant to keep the mosquitoes, flies, fleas and ticks away.
  4. Practice safe food handling habits like washing fruits and vegetables before consuming and keeping cooked food covered.
  5. Maintain a safe distance from animals.
  6. Do not eat, drink, or touch the mouth and eyes when in close contact with animals including pets.
  7. Prevent bites from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas and scratches from animals.


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