World Zoonosis Day 2021: What is the day celebrated and its significance?

The Covid-19 pandemic is said to have originated amongst bats and then made its leap to humans amongst the ‘wet markets’ of Wuhan, China. This makes it a perfect example of Zoonosis (Zoonoses is plural form). So, on World Zoonoses day marked on July 6 every year, let’s take a look at what it is about.

The WHO states it as “an infectious disease that has jumped from a non-human animal to humans. Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents and can spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment.” It can be contagious and an infected human can spread it to others, which can ultimately take the form of a global pandemic.

World Zoonoses Day was first observed on July 6, 1885, to honour the success of French biologist Louis Pasteur, who administered the first vaccination against zoonotic disease on this day. The day marks the celebration of spreading awareness on other zoonotic diseases such as Avian influenza, Ebola and Western Nile Virus and emphasizes the significance of microbes that have the potential to pose as a threat to humans. The theme of World Zoonoses Day 2021 is “Let’s Break the Chain of Zoonotic Transmission.” 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75% of new zoonotic diseases originate from animals. It can be transmitted to any human in the act of consuming meat or coming into contact with the affected animal. WHO states that the meat sellers, cattle/poultry farmers, and people living near forest/semi-urban areas risk a higher chance of being infected by such diseases.

Although one cannot altogether curb the consumption of meat, for that would be a herculean effort, one can always be more careful while handling animals. Small steps like washing our hands with soap after coming in contact with stray animals, taking care of our pets and spreading awareness amongst our family and peers can work great wonders to reduce the impact of such animal prone diseases.

Also Read | Delta variant will be dominant strain of COVID-19 in coming months: WHO

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