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Sras, Mers, Ebola, bird flu, zika, Covid-19, HIV, monkey pox… The zoonoses, which are the favorites of our lifestyle, and diseases transmitted from animals to humans have increased in recent years, increasing the fear of new pandemics. .
“The interface between human and animal has become quite unstable“He was alarmed a few days ago,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of emergency at the World Health Organization (WHO).Disease occurrence and amplification factors increased“, According to that.
We’ve just seen it with monkeypox, but not only, he warned.
Caused by a virus transmitted to humans by infected animals, this monkeypox – “monkeypox” in English – usually rodents – is the latest example of the multiplication of these zoonoses.
These are infectious diseases that vertebrate animals can transmit to humans. Some even become specifically human, such as Covid-19.
According to the World Organization for Animal Health, approximately 60% of emerging diseases are of zoonotic origin.
They have seen their frequency increase drastically in the last two or three decades, as man, who appeared thousands of years ago, intensified his interaction with animals by domesticating animals.
Aforementioned, “intensification of travel that allows them to spread more quickly and uncontrollablyUnderlined AFP Marc Eloit, head of the Pathogen Discovery laboratory at the Institut Pasteur.
Humans are also contributing to disrupting the ecosystem and promoting the transmission of viruses by invading increasingly large areas of the globe.
Intensification of factory farming therefore increases the risk of pathogens spreading among animals. Trade with wild animals also increases people’s exposure to germs they can carry. Deforestation increases the risk of contact between wildlife, domestic animals and human populations.
“When we destroy forests, we reduce biodiversity; we lose animals that naturally regulate viruses and allow them to spread more easily“, zoonosis expert explained to AFP Benjamin Roche, biologist at the Research and Development Institute (IRD).
A study published in Nature at the end of April warned that climate change will also push many animals to flee their ecosystems for more habitable land. However, the more the species mixes, the more it will transmit its viruses, resulting in the emergence of new diseases that can potentially infect humans.
“We need enhanced surveillance of both urban and wild animals so we can identify when a pathogen has jumped from one species to another.” said Gregory Albery, an environmental health expert at Georgetown University in the United States and co-author of the study.And we should be particularly concerned if the buyer’s host is from the city or near people.“.
The study charts a future “web” of viruses that jump from species to species and grow as the planet warms.
“We now have easy and fast research methods that allow us to react quickly if new viruses appear.‘, reassured Marc Eloit of the Pasteur Institute.We can also develop vaccines very quickly.“As we have seen with Covid-19.
But “A number of potentially dangerous new diseases are likely to emerge. you will need to be readyWarns Eric Fèvre, professor specializing in veterinary infectious diseases at the University of Liverpool (UK) and the International Livestock Research Institute (Kenya).
This means, according to him,focus on population public health“in the most remote environments and”better study the ecology of these natural areas to understand how different species interact“.
Since the early 2000s, the concept of “One Health” has been put forward: it promotes a multidisciplinary and global approach to health problems, with close links between human health, animal health and the environment. global ecological situation.
France also launched the international “Prezode” initiative in 2021, which aims to prevent the risks of zoonotic emergence and pandemics by strengthening cooperation with the most affected regions of the world.