We recognise that ensuring the health of animals is important safeguarding the health of people, not only in terms of ensuring the availability of safe, healthy food for all, but also in terms of preventing disease outbreaks or transmission.
Preventive animal medicines and the widespread use and development of vaccines play an increasingly important role in preventing and controlling animal disease outbreaks, which can have devastating impacts on a region’s economy and the health of local eco-systems.
With the rapidly increasing global population and the increasingly crowded nature of our planet where man and animal live in ever closer proximity, the ability of infections to pass more frequently between species has increased. Closer monitoring and surveillance of diseases at the interface of humans, animals and their surrounding environment is essential for the future control of emerging infectious diseases.
Animal medicines can help prevent disease transmission to people. According to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), of the nearly 1,500 infectious diseases we know affect people, a little over 60% can pass between animals and people, and they are mostly originating in wildlife. Called zoonotic diseases, some of the most commonly-recognised zoonoses include avian flu, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and rabies. Over the past three decades, approximately 75% of new emerging human infectious diseases have been zoonotic.
Some zoonotic illnesses can also be spread through food consumption, again underlining both the importance of good animal health as well as upholding good food handling and preparation standards.