Title: Animal Diseases and man – Zoonoses
Authors: Dr Jan H du Preez & Dr Gert P du Preez
Available March 2018
A zoonosis is any disease or infection naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans and vice versa. Humans are often an incidental host that acquire disease through close contact with an infected animal that may or may not be symptomatic.
More than 200 zoonoses of various types are recognised worldwide. They can be caused by a range of disease-causing agents such as viruses, bacteria and many more. Of 1 415 disease-causing agents known to infect humans, 61% are zoonotic. Statistical data indicate that 15% or more of the human population will pick up a zoonotic infection at some stage of their lives.
Zoonoses also undermine the health, productivity and reproductivity of livestock on which humans rely for their food, fibre, labour and transport. The annual worldwide monetary losses due to tuberculosis, brucellosis and rabies in cattle amount to several billion rand.
The relationship between people and animals offers important mutual benefits. Therefore it is imperative that the health of such pets and animals is beyond doubt to protect us against zoonotic infections.
Zoonoses can be prevented and controlled through the necessary knowledge and information. There is no reason to fear animals or avoid them to protect oneself from zoonoses, and this book, the result of collaboration between experts in veterinary and human medicine, presents the message very clearly: continue to enjoy your relationships with companion and other animals, the pleasure of watching and interacting with wildlife, fishing, working with animals and eating whatever your favourite food may be, as long as you are aware of possible risks. Take the appropriate hygienic precautions in terms of their health and yours to avoid infection.