A Public Health Expert, Dr Selim Alarape has advocated effective synergy among medical and veterinary communities as well as other health professionals in clinical, public health and research settings to check Zoonoses that could infect both animals and humans.
Dr Alarape, who is a Lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ibadan made the call in an online discussion organised by University of Ilorin Students’ One Health initiative (UNILOSOHI).
He disclosed that about 75% of emerging infectious diseases are Zoonotic diseases which can be devastating to both human and animal health globally.
According to him, Zoonoses are diseases and infections that are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and man which can be caused by Virus, Bacteria, Fungus, Parasites among others.
Dr Alarape explained that common zoonotic diseases include Anthrax
Avian Influenza/Bird flu, Bovine tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Rabies, Lassa, Ebola and Hepatitis E.
“Mode of transmission of zoonotic diseases include: through air, eating contaminated meat or produce, through close contact with an infected animal, touching an area or surface that an infected animal touched, through insect bites like mosquitos or ticks.
“As veterinarians, we have first contact with these animals and tackling such diseases while it’s still only with the animal is very important and as such it is important that veterinarians are able to threat these diseases,” the Lecturer said.
Dr Alarape maintained that Zoonotic disease control requires involvement of both Physicians and Veterinarians, hence the need to adopt comparative medical research collaboration and be vanguard of “One Health, One Medicine, One World”.
The impacts of Zoonotic diseases in the environment, he said, could lead to chronic debilitating illness, impairment of productivity, mortality, reduced reproductivity, loss of man-hours and loss of export and foreign exchange.
Dr Alarape listed pregnant women, adults above the age of 65 or children below the age of five, people living with HIV, those with cancer who are going through chemotherapy and those with weakened immune systems are susceptible to zoonotic diseases.
He harped on the need to take precautions by washing hands and foods regularly, use insect repellent or other methods to keep mosquitos, fleas, and ticks away as well as presenting pets for regular annual visits to the Veterinarian.
In his submission, the Head of Public Health Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilorin, Dr Ismail Odetokun called on all stakeholders in One Health to get involved in the fight against Zoonotic diseases pervading the society rather than seeing it at Veterinarians affairs.
The Co-founder and President, University of Ilorin Students’ One Health initiative (UNILOSOHI), Miss Lateefah AbdulKarim, explained that One Health is a multidisciplinary action to eliminate emerging and re-emerging diseases and appealed to professionals involved to do more to make the world a better and healthier place.