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World Zoonoses Day: Significance, History and Themes

world zoonoses day
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | July 7, 2021 (Last update: July 7, 2021)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

World Zoonoses Day is observed every year on the 06 of July. The day commemorates the works of the French biologist, Louis Pasteur. He successfully administered the first vaccine against rabies, a zoonotic disease, on 06 July 1885. The observance of the World Zoonoses Day provides the opportunity to spread awareness about various zoonotic diseases and ways to prevent them.

What is a Zoonotic Disease?

Zoonotic diseases are diseases that pass through an animal or insect to a human being. Some of the infections may not affect the animal but can sicken humans. The diseases can be minor short-term illnesses or may also become major life-changing illnesses. It has been reported that about 60% of human infections have their origin in an animal or insect.

Zoonotic diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus or parasites that may transfer from an animal or insect to a human being. There is a huge number of zoonotic diseases that have affected human beings to date. The most recent example can be the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the currently available and accepted information, the pandemic is rooted in a virus supposed to come from bats.

Significance of Awareness about Zoonotic Diseases

World Zoonoses Day is a great opportunity to spread awareness about zoonotic diseases. People can be highly benefited from the awareness as most zoonotic diseases can be avoided with proper prevention. Studies have shown that 75% of all the zoonotic infection comes indirectly to humans, for example, through food etc. This means we can avoid about 75% of zoonotic infections with our diligence.

world zoonoses day

Many zoonotic diseases like animal flu, bird flu, bovine tuberculosis, dengue, Ebola etc. have significantly affected the human population. Most of these could be prevented by spreading awareness about their cause and how they affect the human body. Zoonotic diseases do not only make a person ill, they may even kill the person. Several lives can be saved through awareness.

How to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases?

We need to take actions at various levels to prevent zoonotic diseases. Government, for example, can make the food safety regulation more strict to prevent passing infection through food. However, it is more important to understand what we can do at an individual level to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from zoonotic diseases.

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating something.
  • Keep mosquitoes, flies, fleas and tick away. It can be achieved by adopting hygienic habits like keeping your house clean. You can also use some insect repellent.
  • Practice safe food handling habits. Wash fruits, vegetables and grains before consuming them. Keep cooked food always covered.
  • Maintain a safe distance from animals. If you have some pets, pay attention to their hygiene.
  • Do not eat, drink or touch your mouth and eyes when you are in close contact with animals, including your pets.

The theme for this World Zoonoses Day 2021 is “Let’s Break the Chain of Zoonotic Transmission” which is very important to get out from this COVID-19 pandemic which has already caused too much damage. Let’s spread awareness and let’s break the chain.

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