WHO raises alarm over increase in epidemics

In ten years, the number of cases of these diseases of animal origin that can be transmitted to humans, such as monkey pox, has increased by 63% compared to the previous decade. The number of cases is likely to increase due to population growth.

“We must act now to prevent Africa from becoming the epicenter of emerging infectious diseases,” the World Health Organization said this Thursday, July 14, during an online conference.

At least 75% of new infectious diseases are caused by pathogens of animal origin. Viral hemorrhagic fever such as Ebola virus disease accounts for almost 70% of these epidemics. The remaining 30% consists of viruses such as monkey pox and dengue fever.

Diseases without borders For Karim Tounkara, Africa’s representative of the World Organization for Animal Health, this situation is explained by human encroachment on land reserved for wildlife. “Human activity has destroyed the ecosystems and barriers between animals and humans, which favors the spread of zoonotic diseases,” he explains. “These figures remind us that diseases ignore boundaries and barriers between species.”

The WHO recommends increased monitoring, initially with better vigilance when consuming bushmeat, which is suspected to be the cause of these diseases. “When we eat this type of meat, we must take precautions,” warns Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa. Has skin damage. It is also important to cook the meat well to ensure that any pathogens present are killed and the meat can be eaten.

The Communities’ role WHO’s Crisis Committee will meet next Thursday to decide outbreaks of monkey pox, and on its classification as a “public health crisis of international interest”. This infectious disease, which is transmitted from animals to humans and manifests itself through fever, lymph nodes and sore throat, has already been detected in some sixty countries.

“Africa needs cooperation from all sectors, both in the field of human, animal and environmental health, working together with communities,” Matshidiso Moeti explained during the online conference. It is also crucial to have reliable monitoring mechanisms in place to quickly detect pathogens and take strong action. to stop any spread. ”

Finally, the doctor also warned of the social consequences that often trigger this type of disease, such as Ebola: “We have seen with other infectious diseases that patients are stigmatized. This is one of the things that needs to be addressed in order to get cooperation between families and communities affected. So we need to look at our language and how we talk about the people or families who are affected, so as not to aggravate the stigma. ”

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