World Zoonoses Day 2023: Observed on July 6, It is observed to commemorate the day when the first vaccination against the disease was developed. Zoonosis is an infectious disease that can spread between species – from animals to humans or vice versa like influenza, Ebola and West Nile virus. Caused by viruses, parasites, bacteria and fungi, these diseases can lead to serious complications, sometimes even resulting in death.
According to the World Health organisation, "Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents and can spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment. They represent a major public health problem around the world due to our close relationship with animals in agriculture, as companions and in the natural environment. Zoonoses can also cause disruptions in the production and trade of animal products for food and other uses."
In 1885, World Zoonoses Day originated, when French scientist and Microbiologist, Louis Pasteur developed a successful rabies vaccine. The day was officially recognized and observed on July 6, 2007, honouring the 100th death anniversary of Louis Pasteur. Rabies is one of the deadliest and most widespread zoonotic diseases in the world. It is known to spread through species and caused by a virus that is spread through contact with the saliva or tissue fluids of infected animals. It is most commonly transmitted through bites from wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. The virus can also be spread through contact with an infected animal's urine or feces.
World Zoonoses Day is celebrated with the aim of increasing public awareness about zoonotic diseases. It is crucial for people to be informed about preventive measures and treatment options for zoonotic diseases. "Zoonoses comprise a large percentage of all newly identified infectious diseases as well as many existing ones. Some diseases, such as HIV, begin as a zoonosis but later mutate into human-only strains. Other zoonoses can cause recurring disease outbreaks, such as Ebola virus disease and salmonellosis. Still others, such as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, have the potential to cause global pandemics," stated WHO.