An estimated 50 million people acquired zoonotic diseases between 2000 and 2005 and up to 78,000 have died, reports Dr Jonathan Heeney, Chair of the Department of Virology at the Biomedical Primate Research Centre in the Netherlands.
And the diseases responsible for the majority of zoonotic illnesses, and a third of the deaths in the study period, appear to be increasing. This is particularly worrying because there are no effective vaccines for some of the most common zoonotic viruses.
“For instance there has been a global resurgence in the Dengue virus – which is transmitted between monkeys in the jungle by the mosquitoes that feed on them. The cycle can move into nearby urban areas where it can then be transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes” says Dr Heeney.
“This has been attributed to regional population growth around large cities, increased transportation and failing public control measures.”
Recent publicity about the risk of an H5N1 (bird flu) epidemic – which killed just over half of the 145 people infected during the study period – has centered on the risk of human-to-human transmission. It has also stressed the increased risk that humans face from living in close proximity to large concentrations of birds.
“Viral infections with zoonotic potential can become serious killers once they are able to establish the necessary adaptations for efficient human-to-human transmission under conditions sufficient to reach epidemic proportions” says Dr Heeney.
“That is why it is so important for experts from all walks of medicine to work more closely together.
“Vaccines have been very successful at eradicating devastating human disease such as smallpox. But we need to be vigilant and ensure that emerging diseases such as monkeypox don’t find immunological niches in generations who are no longer vaccinated against diseases like smallpox.
“The early identification, control and prevention of re-emerging viral zoonotics lie not only with clinicians and public health experts, but more importantly with veterinarians, animal scientists and wildlife ecologists.
“They are in the best position to identify trends and patterns, such as increases in the number of deaths of wild or domestic animals. Awareness and surveillance of eco systems will play a key role in identifying and controlling new, emerging and re-emerging viral zoonotics.”
Zoonotic killers between 2000 and 2005 included:
- Rabies, which killed an estimated 30,000 people
- Dengue Virus, which affected 50 million people and killed approximately 25,000
- Japanese Encephalitis Virus, with up to 50,000 estimated cases and up to 15,000 estimated deaths
- Lassa Fever, which affected up to 300,000 people and killed about 5,000
- SARS Corona virus, which killed 774 of the 8102 people infected
Even a zoonotic virus like Yellow Fever – for which an effective vaccine exists – is estimated to affect 200,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.
“It should be stressed that only about a quarter of zoonotic pathogens are readily spread from humans to humans” says Dr Heeney.
“But it is believed that in extreme situations when certain animal viruses transmit to humans they may mutate and adapt to the new host so effectively that they may become almost exclusively spread from humans to humans. This seems to have already happened with measles and the HIV virus.
“Although the number of cases of human bird flu deaths is relatively small when compared with diseases such as Rabies and Dengue, the publicity generated by those deaths has helped to raise awareness of zoonotic diseases.
“We now need to build on that awareness and ensure that the international medical community monitors changes in animal and human health very carefully to ensure that we identify and control any new, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic viruses.”
Annette Whibley | alfa
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences