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World Health Organisation, study group on Veterinary Public Health.

Human health is extricably linked to animal health and production. This link between human and animal populations, and with the surrounding environment, is particularly close in developing regions where animals provide proteins(milk and meat), transportation, draught power, fuel and clothing. A number of communicable diseases (known as zoonoses) are transmitted from animals to humans.

Several are emerging or re-emerging. Some recent examples are:

The increased incidences of foodborne diseases;
The emergence of newly identified zoonotic agents;
Bird flu influenza virus;

The reasons for this upward trend are diverse but some of them can be summarized as follows:

1. Alteration of the environment affecting the size and distribution of certain animal species, vectors and transmitters of infectious agents affecting humans;

2. Increasing human intrusion into previously unpopulated areas(e.g tropical forests) favouring contact between people and new agents carried by infected animals;

3. Inadequecy and deterioration of public health and veterinary infrastructures, particularly in developing regions;

4. Misuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs in humans and animals, which can hasten the evolution of resistant microbes;

5. Deforeststion, changes in climate and weather that may affect infectious agents and/or animals animal hosts;

6. Continuing evolution of pathogenic microorganisms;

7. New medical tools such as enotransplantations;

8. Industrialization and intensifcation of the animal production sector;

9. Changes in food processing, food distribution and the nutritional habits of consumers;

10. Increase in international movements of people as well as in international trade of animals and animal products;

11. Increased number of immunocompromised persons;

 
    
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