The World Health Organization (WHO) has formed a high-level expert panel ‘One Health’ to study the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases like H5N1, avian influenza, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and possibly the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
- The panel will advise global agencies on how future outbreaks, especially due to zoonotic diseases, can be averted.
- It will also develop a surveillance framework and global action plan for the same.
- Zoonotic diseases’ pathogenic infections that transmit from animals to humans have triggered pandemics in past as well. Three of every four infectious diseases are caused by zoonosis. Scientists across the world suspect COVID-19 is also a zoonosis.
- One Health is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals, and our environment, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force.
- One Health model facilitates an interdisciplinary approach in disease control so as to control emerging and existing zoonotic threats.
- The word ‘Zoonosis’ (Pleural: Zoonoses) was introduced by Rudolf Virchow in 1880 to include collectively the diseases shared in nature by man and animals.
- Later WHO in 1959 defined that Zoonoses are those diseases and infections which are naturally transmitted between vertebrate animals and man.
- Zoonoses may be bacterial, viral, or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents.