To commemorate the successful administration of first vaccine against Rabies in 1885 by Louis Pasteur, 06th July is celebrated as World Zoonoses Day, globally. Due to pandemic, World Zoonoses Day has gained a renewed relevance. These days, the fight against zoonoses largely leans on a multidisciplinary One Health approach, which states human, animal, and environmental health are inextricably linked.
Zoonotic disease transmission is associated with disturbed and degraded wildlife habitats and increased human-wildlife interactions, both of which are exacerbated by global climate change. Zoonoses continue to represent an important health hazard in most parts of the world, where they cause considerable expenditure and losses for the health and agricultural sectors. Programmes for the control and eventual elimination in animal reservoirs are urgently needed. In addition, as trade in animal products and the movement of human populations continues to increase, the risk that zoonotic diseases will be introduced or reintroduced into certain areas is likewise increasing.
Over the past five years, a number of zoonotic diseases have emerged as either new pathological entities or known agents appearing in new areas or as new strains. Through its coordinating and information gathering functions, the WHO Emerging Disease Surveillance and Control Division provides a source of both practical and technical guidance that can help solve these and other threats to human health posed by animals.
Locally, endemic zoonoses are frequently encountered by veterinarians, necessitating evidence-based strategies to both mitigate risk to animal and human populations as well as recognition and management of active disease. Veterinarians directly prevent the spread of zoonotic disease by vaccinating companion animals against zoonotic diseases such as rabies; ensuring animal-based food is safe for human consumption, and educating the public on bio-safety and bio-security principles. In their role as advocates for animal health and welfare, veterinarians also have a responsibility to protect environmental health and demand action to minimize climate change.
Veterinarians with their diverse training, including practical experience in animal health and knowledge of epidemiology and environmental drivers of disease, are ideally placed to respond to increased zoonotic risk in cooperation with other One Health professionals in the public health, environmental and ecological fields.
Let us dedicate this year’s celebration to the veterinary public health service providers – the veterinarians. We are sharing an excerpt from a blog for you all to ponder on the importance of this professional in and for the society, at large.
What If There Were No Veterinarians?
May 17th, 2016 / By Eastern College
There are so many professions today that help both our lives and the economy function smoothly. We take these services for granted, but when something happens that causes delays or cancellations, we realize just how lucky we are to have them.
When people think of veterinarians their first thoughts are about house pets. However, veterinarians do far more than just provide care for cats and dogs. Their contributions impact our lives in many ways you might not expect and the loss of this profession would be devastating for our world.
No Help for Pets
Let’s start with the most obvious one: house pets. Even those who dote on their cat or dog know that they require care from time to time. This might involve getting their annual shots or helping to heal wounds. But what would you do if your dog developed an infection or a disease of some sort? Without a qualified professional to help you, the animal’s quality of life would be very poor and it would likely die well before its time.
No Help for Livestock and Compromised Food Safety
The health of livestock is of great importance on several fronts. Those who eat meat and dairy products would be at risk if the animals were not properly cared for and succumbed to disease. If any form of serious, contagious virus did occur, there would be few ways to intervene and entire herds could be wiped out.
No Help for Abused Animals
Forensic veterinarians study abused animals so that the authorities have the evidence required to charge the perpetrators. Without this service, those guilty of abusing animals could continue to do so and many other innocent creatures would suffer and die.
No Way to Combat Zoonotic Diseases
Zoonotic diseases are ones that pass between animals and humans. Medical professionals who work with humans do their part, but without the animal experts, research would stall and serious problems would ensue for both people and animals. Zoonotic illnesses like avian flu would be of much greater danger, while previously controlled ones like tuberculosis and undulant fever could resurface.
No Progress in Fighting Emerging Diseases
Even leaving out zoonotic diseases, the health of the human race would be at greater risk without effective epidemiologic investigations. One of the ways this branch of science benefits is through research involving animals.
While animal activists rightly protest the abuse of animals in medical study, there is still humane research conducted with animals that is of great benefit in the ongoing fight against new viruses.
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