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The Zoonotic Diseases

bats pandamic

Why pathogens travel in search of a host

  A zoonotic disease is a disease or an infection that has been transmitted from an animal to a human being. So, the major reservoir of this is the animal and how is it transmitted from the animal to human beings and what are the causative agents. This may include the virus, it can include bacteria, it can include a virus, parasites, and any other unconventional agents. So, when these agents are transmitted from animals to human beings, such as what is called zoonosis.
 Let's look at important statistics as given by the World Health Organization. According to the World Health Organization, the world sees an estimated 1 billion cases of illness and millions of deaths every year from zoonotic diseases. Also, remember that around 60% of the emerging infectious disease are zoonotic in nature. Now, the question is how do germs spread between the animals and the people, there are three different ways of how this spread occurs, one is the direct contact, the other is the indirect contact and the third is foodborne. 
What is this direct contact, let's say, there is a particular animal, I am indirectly in contact with that animal, I touch the saliva or the blood or the urine or the mucus or any other body fluids of that particular animal in case that happened, and then there is direct contact between an individual and that animal, that is how the spread starts happening directly. So a direct contact is where you have a pet or you have come in direct contact with an animal and such body fluids, which has the contaminant or the agent causing bacteria or the virus is transmitted from the animal to the human beings. So the first import condition is direct contact, which is touching off the animals or tourists bite or scratches from the animal and hence the transmission takes place. 
Now let's look into the indirect contact, let's say there is an animal, which has walked through that particular corridor in a forest area or we have a pet which has robbed in a particular area, there could be a possibility that germs are prevalent in that region, because of this moment, what do we also move into that area. So, we happen to touch those surfaces which have been infected with the virus. So, the minute you touch, where there is no direct contact, but because the animal has previously walked in that particular area, and you have touched the body fluid, that is when indirect contact happens, so this can happen in the forest area or a pet habitat as well. So when there is an infected animal, and you happen to come in touch with the fluid, but the presence of the animal is not present in That particular scenario.
 Then third is foodborne, food eating, or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat or eggs or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated from this infected animal is what is called as foodborne diseases. So basically, you have direct contact, indirect contact, and the foodborne zoonotic diseases.
 But now, the question is, why is this happening? Why is there a race in the zoonotic diseases? Why are the viruses making the jump from the animals to humans more frequently these days, and that is due to the explosion of the human population. Let's go back to the year 1800 or the year 1900. A century or two centuries ago, the populations were comparatively less but now what are we doing? The population is exploding time after time. So, what we are doing is going into all those areas which humans haven't previously entered. So, the human populations are what is leading to this type of catastrophe in the present scenario. So what do we do? The human populations have grown at an unprecedented level. So they require food for agriculture. So they start chopping, they start deforestation, and they enter into the forest areas. So all those viruses that were once part of this forest habitat, which are not into the urban areas, is now into the urban areas, because of deforestation. also, point to be noted that forests are being chopped off, there is deforestation that is taking place, the lakes that are prevalent are drying up, and then what we have is the massive change in the environment that is taking place. And then what we are using land that was part of the forest areas and all this has led to increasing of the zoonotic diseases, and at the same time, there is a growing possibility of climate change as well. So when you look at climate change what has been able To bring his changes in the weather patterns, and this has brought extreme weather events, and this has also led to increasing in the disease, pathogens as well as a pest as well. So what has aggravated the current situation is the environmental changes or the ecological disturbance that has been inflicted by the man because of agricultural intensification, human settlement, and encroachment into the forest. The animals were peacefully living in the forest areas, but the minute the man started interfering, that is when there is a transmission from the animals to human beings. So it disaster to nature is a disaster to the man himself. "There's everything for the man's need, but not for the man's greed", said Mahatma Gandhi. So this is the right example when we have to look at the COVID-19. What have been the other examples? Let's take these bats associate viruses. This is due to the loss of bats habitat from deforestation. agricultural expansion. So bats associated viruses have emerged due to loss of habitat, then what we have Ebola outbreak in Africa. And this was a result of forest losses, leading to closer contact between the wildlife and the human settlements. Then what we also have avian influenza, which is linked to intensive poultry farming. Then finally, what we have is the Nipah virus, which was linked to the intensification of pig farming and fruit production in Malaysia. so kindly note, all these issues have been aggravated because of human interference and greater damage to nature. 
What is the way forward? How do we regulate this? How do we ensure that such diseases do not happen shortly? One of the possible ways is to preserve the ecosystem integrative and that we'll be able to regulate the disease this man has been very greedy in the past one century you should not inflicting pain onto nature and that is when nature will also take care of the man followed by this, the World Health Organization has come up with an approach called as one health approach. What does this is a multi-approach, which means the majority of the stakeholders come under a single platform, you have the government, you have the private, then you have the civil society all coming up together, and it's players adding for a proper cost. Let's say there is a widest break over in Wuhan. What happens this will immediately have to be given by the civil society because they are the ones who have faced it, then what will happen, the government will have to step in it immediately will have to send this information which is National to the international body, then there is a private organization which steps in which has to increase the R&D concerning this particular virus outbreak. So what happens there is coordination between the civil society, the government, the international bodies, and the private sector. Organizations will also engage the scientific community who will engage themselves in the research and development so that they can devise a vaccine and at the same time, this will also require assistance from the doctors so that they can keep the patients intact. This will also require the executive body like the police officers. So, when there is a breakout of a particular virus, it will require the assistance of multiple sectors and that is what is called one health scheme. So a minute scheme is an approach to design and implement programs, policies, legislation, or research in which multiple sectors groups and stakeholders come together to work together to achieve one public health outcome. So kindly Remember, this is what is called as one health approach as devised by the World Health Organization. In line with one health approach. The United Nations Environmental Program has come up with global stewardship of nature and biodiversity in which the countries share information and come up with reliable early warning systems so that this can be used for effectively curbing the menace of zoonotic diseases. 


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