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HomeHealthWHO calls for action against zoonotic diseases.

WHO calls for action against zoonotic diseases.

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World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for immediate action to stop the widespread transferal of infections from animals to humans.

According to WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, analysis showed a 63 per cent increase in zoonotic outbreaks across the African continent between 2012 and 2022.

“We need all hands on deck to prevent and control zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, monkeypox and even other coronaviruses.”

“Infections originating in animals and then moving to humans have been happening for centuries, but the risk of mass infections and deaths has historically been relatively limited in Africa,” Moeti added.

Moeti further said, improved transportation in Africa has led to an increased threat of zoonotic pathogens travelling to large urban centers.

Another major factor listed by Moeti was Africa’s extremely fast population growth and increasing demand for food derived from animals including meat, poultry, eggs, and milk increasing the potential for zoonotic cases. 

The WHO insists this phenomenon is so prevalent that the most infectious diseases are now located in Africa.

The Director said the latest data on monkeypox indicates a significant increase in cases since April 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. 

Ebola Virus and other viral hemorrhagic fevers constitute nearly 70% of these outbreaks.

WHO however, recommended a one-health approach requiring routine disease surveillance information, a wide range of experts, response activities and communities working together. Additionally, more research is also needed in identifying environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural factors

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