‘One Health approach important to control Zoonotic diseases’

“Of the contagious diseases, more than 65 % are zoonotic diseases.”

“In the wake of the emergence of several new zoonotic diseases, ‘One Health Approach’, which recognises the interconnection between people, animals, plants and environment, has become more important. Collaborative and multidisciplinary efforts cutting across the human-animal-environmental health is necessary to understand the ecology of emerging zoonotic diseases,” noted Thrissur District Medical Officer Dr. K.J. Reena.

“We are witnessing many kinds of zoonotic diseases on a daily basis. They include rabies, leptospirosis, bird flu, Nipah, salmonella and many more. We have been taking an interdisciplinary approach in dealing with them,” the DMO said.

“One Health Approach involves experts from medicine, animal health, epidemiology, wild life, agriculture, ecology and more to understand how the disease is getting spread and how to check them.”

“One of the key aspects of the One Health approach is that animals can serve as early warning signs of human illness. So tracking the animal health issues can help in checking potential outbreaks in human beings.”

“Of the contagious diseases, more than 65 % are zoonotic diseases. Studies indicate even COVID 19 had originated from Wuhan animal market in China. One Health has emerged as the single solution to control zoonotic and other contagious diseases,” noted Sethu Madhavan, former Director of Entrepreneurship at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

“Along with environmental and population-related changes such as deforestation, climate change, intensive farming and illegal wildlife trade, global travelling too has increased the risk of transmission of diseases,” he noted.

“Some of the strategic options of One Health Approach include protection from zoonotic diseases; ensuring food security and safety; protecting animal health and protecting trade. Compromised food safety may lead to foodborne infections and subsequent mortality. Food safety has emerged as an important global issue due to international trade and public health implications,” Dr. Sethu Madhavan noted.

According to World Health Organization’s estimates, annually 3-5 billion cases of diarrhea are occurring globally due to food safety issues. More than 1.8 million deaths occur among children below five years of age and the significant proportion of these results are through consumption of food. Five lakh children below five years of age die every year due to diarrhea in India. Indiscriminate use of pesticides and antibiotic residues in the food chain will create a lot of public health issues.

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