Research predicts that almost 60% of human ailments and 75% of infectious diseases that are emerging are zoonotic in nature. Over the past few years, many novel animal-transmitted diseases have emerged.
Nonetheless, these diseases are spreading to newer regions. Many researchers blame the growth in trading practices and increasing tourist activities are the prime factors for the transfer of pathogens to new places.
Several diseases transfer to and fro between animals, livestock and humans. Here are six of the most common and deadly diseases that continuously take a toll on millions of lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports suggest that Ebola originated from the fruit bats. Other than this flying mammal, there could be gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees, forest antelopes, etc., who can infect humans. It causes severe bleeding and fever and strikes harder by killing more than half of the infected population.
Discovered in the year 1976, Ebola has made a record of causing the maximum number of outbreaks in the African continent. The transmission of this deadly virus can occur upon coming near secretions, blood, bodily fluids or even organs of an infected animal.
Plus, the body fluid or blood of an infected human can also contaminate others if they come in contact with the person. The most saddening part is that it has taken the lives of more than 11,000 humans till now.
#2 HIV or AIDS
If reports from the US CDC is to be considered, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is supposedly transmitted to humans from a particular species of chimpanzee in Africa. HIV potentially contaminates the cells of the human body’s immune system and makes it more vulnerable to complications and severe infections.
The Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a disorder applicable to the advanced HIV infection stage. HIV or advanced AIDS continues to claim millions of lives every year. According to the WHO, the world lost nearly 32 million lives in 2019 due to them.
These viruses can transmit through the exchange of bodily fluids, including blood, saliva, breast milk, vaginal secretions, etc. Although antiretroviral therapies can slow down the advancement of the disease, these therapies are inaccessible to innumerable people living out there with HIV or AIDS.
Plague is an epidemic that has been in history for centuries. The Black Death, cause due to bubonic plague, has probably claimed the lives of 25 million people. It began from the Chinese territory and got transferred all across the European countries. Bubonic plague also became rampant from the year 1334 till the late 1340s.
Historical records say that there have been a total of three major plagues starting from Bubonic, Septicaemic, and lastly, Pneumonic. They are an outcome of the Yersinia Pestis bacteria which is prevalent in small mammals and fleas.
When the infected vector flea bites or if a person comes in contact with the infectious bodily fluids, infection can take place. A person can also infect himself/herself if they inhale respiratory droplets of another infected person.
#4 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is an outbreak of 2003 that is believed to have first originated in bats and then transferred to other animals like civet cats. According to the WHO, the southern province of China first saw the spread of this virus.
Estimates say that nearly 99% of the rabies transmission happens through dogs. However, in the USA, death due to human rabies incidents is prevalent and that takes place through the transmission from bats. Reports say that this disease mostly occurs in Asia and Africa.
#5 Nipah virus
Nipah Virus gets transmitted from animals like pigs and bats to humans or through food contamination. The fruit bats belonging to the Pteropodidae family are the natural hosts of Nipah Virus.
In 1999, Nipah Virus infected a large group of pig farmers in Malaysia, and that’s when it gained recognition. It infects not only humans but animals as well thus making it a significant health concern.
These are the six destructive diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. Consequently, the world is facing massive zoonotic outbreaks now with new virus strains affecting mankind every day.