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With the delta variant of COVID-19 continuing to haunt some parts of the world, a veterinarian from Damaturu, capital of the state of Yobe, Dr. Zarah Ibrahim, expressed concern about low investment in veterinary medicine to combat zoonoses in Nigeria.
This comes after the recent appearance of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus and the proclamation of a third wave by the federal government.
The medical expert, who works with the government of the state of Yobe, stated in an interview that developing the infrastructure of veterinary clinics, equipping them with state-of-the-art facilities and building the capacity of veterinarians to cope with challenges in containment and control would help the cases of zoonosis in the country.
According to her, 75 percent of human diseases are naturally zoonotic, of which only about 25 percent are non-communicable.
“Infectious diseases can be transmitted just as easily as the coronavirus pandemic.
“There were over 200 zoonotic diseases worldwide; including leprosy, COVID-19, tuberculosis, brucellosis, Ebola, trypanosomiasis, river blindness, elephantiasis, anthrax, SARS and MERS, “she said.
She stressed that because of the complexities of human anatomy and physiology, it is cheaper and easier to treat these diseases at the animal level before they are transmitted to humans.
“The involvement of veterinarians in the formulation and implementation of policies on zoonoses is of paramount importance,” she added.
“If veterinarians are properly accompanied, they bring their knowledge and experience to the prevention of zoonotic diseases.”
She urged government and community leaders to educate the public about safety measures when processing and consuming dairy products because the pathogens causing the zoonosis were viral, fungal and bacterial, adding that transmission includes oral, aerosol, direct contact and sex .