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Our Planet - Our Health

Hendra, Nipah, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, SARS, MERS, Marburg, West Nile, avian and swine flu… and of course COVID-19…

What do all these diseases have in common? They’re all caused by viruses that have ‘spilled over’ from their original animal hosts into humans.

This #WorldHealthDay is a time to reflect on the interconnectedness of the health of our planet, and all the species that share it, ourselves included.

As humans encroach on more and more wildlife habitat, animals are captured for the illegal pet trade and bushmeat is traded internationally, species normally distant from each other are coming into increasing contact, providing ever more opportunities for pathogens to infect new hosts.

There’s been a steady rise in zoonotic diseases since the 1940s and today 75% of new diseases make that transition from animals to humans.

Over the last two years, the global COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the ever expanding interface between wildlife, domestic animals and humans, and the increasing risk of diseases jumping species barriers. WVI works at that interface, monitoring the health of Endangered species and mitigating the impact of disease. It has never been more vital to ensure that quality veterinary science is right at the heart of conservation.

The pictures are from a vaccination and neutering clinic organised by Painted Dog Conservation for village dogs in Zimbabwe.

Vaccination queue

Vaccinating them against rabies and canine distemper virus not only improves their welfare, but helps protect humans against rabies and painted dogs against distemper. Conservation cannot happen in isolation – it has to support the health and well-being of all life on the planet.

WVI supported the neutering side of the clinic.