Veterinarians key gamers in combat in opposition to zoonotic illness

World Zoonoses Day is fast approaching and after the global COVID-19 pandemic, many could say that it is gaining momentum again this year.

The event, held on July 6, is designed to raise awareness of the risk of zoonotic diseases, according to the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). The date itself commemorates Louis Pasteur’s successful administration of the first rabies vaccine in 1885.

Today, the fight against zoonoses relies largely on a multidisciplinary one-health approach to medicine, which states that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 60 percent of the viruses that infect humans can be from animals, says Cassandra Tansey, DVM, DACLAM, chair of the World Veterinary Association’s (WVA) Strategic Focus Group on World Health.

“Zoonotic transmission has been linked to disturbed and degraded wildlife habitats and increased human-animal interactions, both of which are exacerbated by global climate change,” she adds.

“Veterinarians directly prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases by vaccinating pets against zoonotic diseases such as rabies, ensuring that foods of animal origin are safe for human consumption, and educating the public about biosafety and biosecurity principles. In their role as animal health and welfare advocates, veterinarians also have a responsibility to protect environmental health and to encourage action to minimize climate change. “