world zoonoses day

Zoonotic Diseases: Animal to Human Threat

Humans and animals have lived together in ancient times. And we derive so many resources from them like- milk, fur, food. Apart from this we have pets and love to play and spend time with them.

After all, they are such a good company. Also now we are living in crowded and unsanitary conditions, where food is prepared right next to sewer and corpses, rodents and cockroaches pollute the river water.

Those diseases which transmit to humans through an animal are called Zoonotic Diseases. Some of these animals serve as vector and don’t get infected themselves. The cause of zoonotic diseases is the same as the cause of other illnesses – fungi, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

There are many zoonotic diseases that people already know. Some of them are- Ebola, Bird flu, Malaria, Swine Flu, and Corona Virus. The seriousness of zoonotic diseases varies greatly. Some are hard to control, while others can be controlled easily. Some are fatal while others cause very less suffering

How we get zoonotic diseases?

Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted in the following ways:

  • By air
  • By eating infected meat or poultry.
  • By close contact with an infected animal.
  • By bites/ scratches of an infected animal, pest.
  • By touching an area earlier infected by an animal.

Now that’s why zoonotic diseases spread so quickly infecting the majority of the population. Also, pets with ticks have a higher probability of carrying an infection.

Ticks are vectors of certain diseases.

Every 6/10 is a zoonotic disease, and few people are at higher risk of being infected:

  1. Pregnant Woman.
  2. People who are HIV positive.
  3. Older adults aged 65 or more.
  4. Cancer patients with ongoing chemotherapy.
  5. Children younger than five years of age.
  6. People with weak immune systems.

Some deadly Zoonotic Diseases

DiseaseCausative agentsVectorsymptomsTotal number of Fatality
Plague (black death)Bacterium Yersinia pestisRodent fleesSwollen lymph nodes in armpits and groin.
  Fever.  
Headache.  
Chills  
Body ache    
75-200 millions
1347 – 1351.
Spanish FluVirus H1N1 virusDomestic and wild bird of North America Chills fever fatigue in 1st Wave

  Skin turning blue and lungs filled with fluid causing patient to suffocate to death.
5 million
1918- 1920
HIV AIDSVirus Human immunodeficiency virusWild chimpanzees Pain in the abdomen
  Fever  
Sore throat  
Fatigue  
Rashes  
Night sweats
25-35 million   
1981 – present
Japanese Small pox epidemicVirus Variola VirusDomesticated animalsRashes or small bumps in body  
Fever  
Malaises  
Chills  
Muscle pain
5 million   735 – 737
Russian FluVirus H1N1 VirusMany domesticated animalsHot and cold flashes  
Headache  
Bodyache  
Fever  
weakness
1 million   1889-1890
Cholera1-6 OutbreakCholera1-6 OutbreakMarine animalsDiarrhea  
Dehydration  
Nausea  
vomiting      
1 million   1817-1927
COVID-19Virus SARS-CoV-2BatsFever  
Pain in throat  
Dry cough  
Difficulty in breathing  
tiredness  
70.6 K 2019- present


do's and dont's

Do’s

If you are bitten/ scratched by an animal, go to the doctor immediately and also get that animal checked by a vet.

If an insect bites you, try to save the tick in a container; show it to your doctor. This would help in giving you proper treatment if the tick was a vector.

Wash your hands after playing with your pets.

Use insect replant to avoid mosquitoes and insects.

Properly vaccinate your pets.

Use mosquito nets.

Cover your body when going to an open area.

Don’ts

Don’t touch any street or wild animal which appears to be sick.

Don’t eat uncooked meat.

Avoid being scratched or bitten by animals.

Don’t skip annual checkups of pets.

Don’t hesitate to go to the doctor if you are bitten by an animal.

Don’t touch your eyes or mouth when playing with pets.

Conclusion

cat in arms of veterinarian doctor

It is essential to realize that as long as we live in close contact with animals, the threat of zoonotic diseases will be there. But with proper sanitation, we can help eradicate the zoonotic diseases up to a great extent.

To maintain proper hygiene, keep vaccinating your pets, and eat healthy and cooked food. Most of the zoonotic diseases are curable and keep a distance from people if you are infected with any zoonotic disease.

Knowledge about the zoonotic disease and your actions taken in the correct direction can help in stopping the widespread of the disease and hence preventing it transformation into epidemic or pandemic.

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