You are here

Animal welfare, Health

13 - 07 - 2015

What is the link between human and animal health?

For the world Day of zoonoses, which took place on the 6th of July, the current status of these human diseases with an animal origin was reviewed.


Rabies, avian flu, Ebola, Hemorrhagic fever, Tuberculosis and Lyme disease are all zoonoses – animal diseases transmissible to humans. And they are numerous: 60% of pathogens that affect humans come from domestic or wild animals (see video below).


Three diseases that come from animals and also affect humans


Three examples of diseases which are transmitted from animals to humans are shown below:


  1. Rabies infects domestic animals (such as dogs) and wild animals (eg. Bats and foxes) and is transmitted to humans by the saliva of infected animals often by a bite;
  2. The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans through wild animals and then spreads in the population through inter-human transmission;
  3. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by ticks. Reservoir animal populations are small rodents, hares and birds. 


Emerging diseases are threatening human and animal health


Three quarters of infectious diseases that occur for the first time in humans come from domesticated or wild animals. Among those we find the avian flu H5N1 and diseases caused by coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS ( Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).


Today the spread of emerging diseases is much faster because of aerial transport. This is why the OIE (World organization for Animal Health) noted that “the zoonoses that we currently face have an unprecedented global impact.”


‘One Health’


The increasing number of health crisis has revealed the limitations of the conventional approaches when it comes to infectious diseases. A new concept called One health aims at strengthening the links between human health, animal health and management of the environment. This approach aims to protect public health through the control of pathogens in animals at the interface of men/animals/the environment.


“One health” in France ? Since 2011, the French government (in french) has committed to implement this “integrated approach to health facing the globalization of the sanitary risks.”


For more information: discover a series of infographics used for the World Day of zoonoses 2015.