CALL FOR CHECKS ON ZOONOSES

'ABOUT 60 % HUMAN DISEASES HAVE SOURCES IN ANIMALS'

KANWAL SALEEM
May 11 - 17, 2009

The University of Veterinary and Animal Science (UVAS) in collaboration with Directorate General Health Punjab and Pakistan Medical Society (PMS) organised the first National Conference on Zoonotic Diseases in Lahore in which speakers called for taking appropriate steps to check transmission of the animal diseases to the humans.

The emergence of diseases such as SARS, west nice fever, and avian influenza have started to pose threats while medical and veterinary health professionals are joining hands in recognition for the need of integrated approach to the public health.

Addressing the moot, Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal Khan said that all out efforts should be made to check transmission of the animal diseases to humans. Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Minister for Agriculture Ali Ahmed

Aulakh, said that the new concept, "one world-one health" has recently appeared, indicating that the world has suddenly waken up.

About 60 % of the human diseases have their sources in animals. He said human population needs a regular meal of protein, from milk eggs and meat, and that deficiency can lead to public health problem. The world production of food animal is reduced by more than 20% due to disease, which means that even animal disease not transmissible to human may lead to serious health problem.

The vice-chancellor of UVAS Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz said, "Zoonotic disease is caused by a pathogen that can jump to humans from animal reservoir; most zoonotic germs are carried by animal host that can tolerate infection. Vets are responsible for public health issues, which include food safety, insecurity, zoonotic diseases spread, and socio veterinary interaction."

He said that there should be a unified approach between the human and the veterinary medicine to improve the global health of the human and animal. He pointed out that many a virus are causing serious hemorrhagic problems in humans like Marburg virus causing a hemorrhagic fever transmitted from the monkeys and Ebola by Bats.

Dr Masood Sheikh said most new disease including avian influenza emerges out of the animal reservoir. This is the key area where the veterinary medicine can contribute to human health.

He pointed out that in future, the Ebola and Marburg have been weaponized, the next crises could be manmade. He said that there has been an emergence of the deadly new influenza virus from the pig to the humans causing swine flu.

"Many diseases are shared between animals and humans in the developing world, there are several ever present zoonotic disease. That placed greater stress on impoverish communities. In the developing world, we are seeing an ever-increasing amount of the emerging and reemerging zoonotic disease. Many of which are coming from our wildlife population," he said.

Dr Asad Ashraf said veterinary profession is diverse and currently developments wets are involved with projects that may not be called veterinary, such projects include AIDS/ HIV, affecting communities, with sustainable livelihood intervention.