The number of outbreaks of zoonotic diseases in Africa has increased by more than 60% over the past decade, the World Health Organization says, a worrying sign that the planet may be facing a pandemic. an increase in zoonotic diseases such as monkeypox, Ebola and coronavirus. Future.
The United Nations health agency said in a statement on Thursday there was a 63 percent increase in the number of animal diseases that breach the species barrier between 2012 and 2022, compared with the previous decade.
According to WHO, there is a particular spike between 2019 and 2020, when zoonotic diseases then infect humans, accounting for half of all significant public health events in the United States. Africa, the WHO said. Diseases such as Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers are responsible for 70% of those outbreaks, in addition to diseases such as monkeypox, dengue, anthrax, and bubonic plague.
“We must act now to stop zoonotic diseases before they can cause widespread infection and prevent Africa from becoming a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases,” the director said. WHO Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement.
While zoonoses have infected humans for centuries in Africa, recent developments such as faster transcontinental travel have made it easier for the virus to cross borders, she said.
The WHO also notes that Africa has the fastest growing population in the world, which is increasing urbanization and reducing roaming areas for wildlife. Scientists are also concerned that outbreaks that may have been contained in remote rural areas could now spread more rapidly to major African cities with international travel routes, following That could bring disease around the world.
During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that began in 2014, it was not until the epidemic reached capital cities that its spread broke out, eventually killing more than 10,000 people and reaching several cities in Europe. Europe and America.
Until May, monkeypox was not known to have caused significant outbreaks outside of Central and West Africa, where it has sickened people for decades. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are now more than 11,000 cases of the disease worldwide in 65 countries, the majority of which have had no reports of monkeypox.
WHO announced that it will hold an emergency meeting next week to assess whether monkeypox should be declared a global emergency. Last month, the agency said the outbreak had yet to warrant a statement but said it would look into issues such as the possibility that monkeypox could infect more vulnerable populations such as children. children and whether the virus causes more severe illness.