Experts fear an increase in zoonotic outbreaks of diseases from animals to humans

Experts fear an increase in zoonotic outbreaks of diseases from animals to humans

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan (WHO)

Sourced from the web by Tracy Cabrera

MANILA — Health experts are now saying that with the spread of monkeypox across the world coming hot on the heels of Covid-19 that is said to have originated from bats, there are fears that increasing outbreaks of diseases that jump from animals to humans could spark another global pandemic.

Sourced from the web by Tracy Cabrera

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), while such diseases — called zoonoses — have been around for millennia, they have become more common in recent decades due to deforestation, mass livestock cultivation, climate change, and other human-induced upheavals in the animal world.

Aside from the deadly coronavirus, other diseases to leap from animals to humans include HIV, Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS, bird flu, and the bubonic plague.

WHO disclosed that it is still investigating the origins of Covid, but the “strongest evidence is still around zoonotic transmission,” and with more than 1,000 monkeypox cases recorded globally over the last month, the UN agency has warned there is a “real” risk the disease could become established in dozens of countries.

WHO’s emergency director Michael Ryan noted last week that “it’s not just in monkeypox”—the way that humans and animals interact has become “unstable”.

“The number of times that these diseases cross into humans is increasing and then our ability to amplify that disease and move it on within our communities is increasing,” Ryan cited.

“Monkeypox did not recently leap over to humans—the first human case was identified in DR Congo in 1970 and it has since been confined to areas in Central and Western Africa. (Despite its name,) the latest monkeypox outbreak has nothing to do with monkeys. Zoonotic transmission is most often from rodents, and outbreaks are spread by person-to-person contact,” University of Cambridge epidemiologist Olivier Restif pointed out.

And with around 60 percent of all known human infections are zoonotic, as are 75 percent of all new and emerging infectious diseases, Restif said that the number of zoonotic pathogens and outbreaks have increased in the past few decades due to “population growth, livestock growth and encroachment into wildlife habitats.” (ai/mtvn)

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