Zoonosis, we continue for bingo

The Ministry of Health reported on Friday that 21 samples from patients with suspected non-human smallpox have tested positivealthough they must still be sequenced in order to determine what type of smallpox it is and rule out, or not, that it is the so-called monkeypox, an infectious disease that in 2003 already spread through six American states.

In any case, the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), which has carried out a partial sequencing of the virus, has already has confirmed seven cases of monkeypox in Spain and the ministry is analyzing different therapeutic options to treat these cases, which are also being registered in the rest of Europe and the world.

About the zoonotic virus that causes this type of smallpox, which belongs to the family of orthopox virus, it is believed that the main hosts are rodents, from where they can pass to humans, monkeys and other apes. And, as far as is known, this pathogen was not part of the potential health threats in the European Union, although experts were alert to a considerable increase in cases in Africa. It must be remembered that the eradication of smallpox meant that vaccination against it was stopped.

We do not yet know what scope this new alert will have in Europe and within our borders, but when it comes to zoonoses, diseases that pass from animals to humans either through direct exposure or food, it is clear that we continue to bingo.

The list is very extensive and the last entry, when we have not yet surpassed it, is the covid-19 pandemic, a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, which could have made the leap to humans from the pangolin (irrefutable confirmation is lacking). That list includes the black plague, rabies, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), avian influenza, … and to AIDS (It is believed that in the early 20th century a West African hunter was first infected with a strain of the simian immunodeficiency virus – SIV, the predecessor of HIV).

It is estimated that 70% of the new diseases that have affected humanity in recent decades come from animals and that animals and humans share about 300 diseases.

And there is already an important current in favor of the fact that, since we share a large part of the ecosystems in which we live and there are many infectious microorganisms that affect both, the same efforts are devoted to both human and animal health.

Its about international movement One Health (in English; one health, in Spanish), an approach that began to be introduced in the early 2000s; of a collaborative, multisectoral and multidisciplinary nature, and which is applied at a local, regional and global level, with the aim of achieving optimal solutions for health, taking into account the interaction between people, animals, plants and the environment.

The idea is that, to protect public health, global strategies are needed, which include the health of animals and the environment, which has been greatly altered by human actions, which is causing global warming and deforestation and, with it, the loss of habitat for millions of species that are looking for new places to live, closer to humans. In addition, the globalized world, with the large-scale transport of goods and people, has also contributed to the spread of many pathogens and vectors.

on the move One Health include problems such as antibiotic resistancelargely caused by the overuse of antibiotics in animals for human consumption.

In other words, if we want to try to successfully preserve public health from now on, we had better put a great transdisciplinary and global focus and act diligently and effectively on what, in practice, is a whole: the health of people, animals and the environment.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955, Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921) already warned us: “The world is a dangerous place. Not because of those who do evil, but because of those who do nothing to prevent it“.

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Zoonosis, we continue for bingo