Animal-borne epidemics are exploding in Africa, says WHO

THE ESSENTIAL

  • Dengue is a disease transmitted by the bite of a certain type of mosquito, there is no direct transmission between humans.
  • Ebola is a virus that is transmitted to humans from wild animals but also between humans, from the biological fluids of patients such as saliva, urine, blood, etc.

Between 2012 and 2022, epidemics transmitted from animals to humans increased by 63% in Africa, compared to the previous decade between 2001 and 2011, according to theWorld Health Organization (WHO) . Among the epidemics of zoonoses, infectious diseases that pass from animals to humans, there is, of course, monkeypox, but also Ebola and dengue.

Ebola, plague, dengue…

In detail, the health authority considers that “Ebola virus disease and other viral hemorrhagic fevers account for nearly 70% of these outbreaks, with dengue, anthrax, plague, monkeypox, and a host of other diseases making up the remaining 30%.”.

Monkeypox progression

As for monkeypox, the WHO records 2,087 cases in Africa, of which only 203 were confirmed, between January 1 and July 8, 2022.The overall case fatality rate for the 203 confirmed cases is 2.4%”, specifies the health authority. In general, this disease has been on the rise on the continent since 2017.

Population growth

To explain this increase in zoonosis epidemics, the WHO gives several reasons. First of all, the very high population growth in Africa and the fact that the inhabitants consume more and more food derived from animals, such as meat, poultry, eggs or even milk.

spread accumulation

Another explanation: urbanization. “poor transportation infrastructure (which existed until now in Africa) formed a natural barrierexplains Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. With the improvement of transportation in Africa, the threat of zoonotic pathogens moving into major urban centers has increased. We must act now to stop zoonoses before they can cause widespread infections.”. In fact, the development of transport favors the spread of epidemics on the continent.

Identify factors

To curb the development of zoonotic epidemics in Africa, the WHO therefore recommends continuing research to better identify the environmental, socioeconomic and cultural factors that cause this increase… and thus be able to do more prevention with populations.


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