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75% emerging infectious diseases zoonotic: UN Report -Rajeshwari Sinha

-Down to Earth

Document emphasises on importance of a ‘One-Health’ approach to manage and prevent zoonotic disease outbreaks and pandemics

About 60 per cent of known infectious diseases in humans and 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, according to a new report published recently by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Preventing the Next Pandemic:Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission was released on July 6, 2020, celebrated as ‘World Zoonoses Day’. “It may be the worst, but it is not the first,” Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP wrote in the foreword of the report.

Zoonosis or zoonotic disease is a disease that has passed into the human population from an animal source directly or through an intermediary species. Zoonotic infections can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic in nature, with animals playing a vital role in maintaining such infections. Examples of zoonoses include HIV-AIDS, Ebola, Lyme Disease, malaria, rabies, West Nile fever, and the current novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) disease.

The report discussed the context and nature of potential future zoonotic disease outbreaks, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It identified seven anthropogenic driving factors leading to the emergence of zoonotic diseases — increased demand for animal protein; rise in intense and unsustainable farming; the increased use and exploitation of wildlife; unsustainable utilisation of natural resources; travel and transportation, changes in food supply chains and the climate change crisis.

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