Most emerging infectious diseases of humans come from animals. International health agencies monitor these diseases, but they do so only for humans and livestock, not for companion dogs and cats. A new study recommends a global system is needed to monitor infectious diseases of companion dogs and cats.
The study, led by Michael Day, Professor of Veterinary Pathology in the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol and published online in Emerging Infectious Diseases, lists key infectious diseases that may be transmitted between dogs and cats and man ('zoonotic diseases'). It is well recognised that most of the major new diseases of mankind will have an animal origin and dogs and cats are a potential source of such 'emerging diseases'.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) One Health Committee, which promotes the closer integration of human and animal healthcare ('One Health') in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recommends in the paper a co-ordinated global disease monitoring system is established for veterinarians who work in small companion animal practice.
However, development of such a scheme would require significant political will, scientific application and financial support that could be achieved through a public-private partnership. The knowledge gained through surveillance would permit more effective global control of small companion animal zoonoses and so reduce the risks inherent within this most fundamental of human relationships.
Canine rabies virus infection, one of the diseases listed in the paper, is estimated to kill a minimum of 55,000 people in Africa and Asia each year.
Michael Day, Professor of Veterinary Pathology in the School of Veterinary Sciences, said: "The number of small companion animals is significant. For example there are an estimated eight to ten million dogs living in up to 31 per cent of UK homes and in the USA, 72 million dogs in 37 per cent of homes.
"In developed countries the relationship between man and dogs and cats has deepened, with these animals now closely sharing the human indoor environment. The benefits of pet ownership on human health, well-being and development are unquestionable, but as dogs and cats have moved from the barn, to the house, to the bedroom, the potential for disease spread to humans increases. Control of diseases among dogs and cats is a good way to prevent spread to humans."
Small companion animals, most typically dogs and cats, are kept by people for companionship or a range of utilitarian purposes. Dogs and cats have a close relationship with their human owners and play an important role in the cultures of both developed and developing communities. The social and societal benefits of pet ownership are significant, with dogs now participating in programmes in institutions such as schools, prisons and hospitals, in addition to their role in family life.
In human, livestock and wildlife heath there are programmes of active surveillance for infectious disease, which monitor the global distribution and movement of key infectious agents. For example, the WHO monitors human influenza virus infection through a network of 111 centres in 83 countries. In contrast, there is no such monitoring for the infections that may be transmitted between small companion animals and man.
University of Bristol: http://www.bristol.ac.uk
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Polish doctors used cells from patient's nose to heal spinal injury
Like any trench war, the fight to protect America's kids against disease is proceeding only inch by inch. A new report shows why there's reason for hope—and reason for worry
Decontaminating biohazard sites can be a tough job, but the hardest microbe to wash away may not be what you think
The discovery of a possible trigger for the onset of Parkinson's disease could lead to new treatments for patients who still depend on a 50-year-old drug
Many people experience severe anxiety in mundane social situations, such as group introductions or paying bills. Why does this happen? And is there any useful purpose to it?
Along with the usual suspects, cigarettes and booze, the European code for avoiding cancer has been updated to include having the HPV vaccine and breastfeeding
Lose the pounds too fast, gain them all back? It seems not. Crash dieters regain the same amount of lost weight as those taking a longer-term approach
A new study suggests a little spending now can buy you a lot of time later
Researchers have identified a chemical that melanoma cells follow when they spread around the body raising the prospect of eventually switching it off
Some of the planet’s scariest, most lethal viruses find a natural refuge inside bats, including Ebola, rabies, Marburg and the SARS coronavirus. Many high-profile epidemics have been traced back to bats, and scientists are discovering new bat-borne viruses all the time.