To the Editor:
Corona COVID-19 is a zoonotic infection that is new and little is known about it. I have spoken with many including nurses about zoonotic diseases and have found few who know what zoonotic means.
Zoonotic means a disease that normally exists in animals then can be transmitted from animals to humans and can go from an infected human to a human who is not infected. It is important to follow directives from the government to help avoid the spread of this virus.
There are many other zoonotics that have affected people over the years: Bartonella, ie. cat scratch fever, Ebola, Spanish flu of 1918, plague and many others.
I remember some years ago an acquaintance telling me about her son being sick and going back and forth to the hospital with no answers. She told me about their pets and how their rabbit had ‘snuffles’ and that he had been bitten by his rabbit. My antenna went up as snuffles is an infection with Pasteurella multiocida, a bacteria that is contagious to people usually requiring a skin break such as a bite or a wound to enter the system. On her next visit she had the information, he was tested and treated.
We must also think of vector-borne diseases which are spread through vectors such as flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks to name some possibilities, some examples of which include: Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, malaria and others.
Some infections start as zoonotic and become vector borne. Borrelia, ie. Lyme, is the result of a tick biting an infected reservoir species like white-footed mice and then the tick can pass the infection on to other hosts such as dogs, cats, horses and people.
The One Health initiative is a movement to forge co-equal, all-inclusive collaborations between physicians, osteopathic physicians, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other scientific-health and environmentally related disciplines http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/. A One Health approach can achieve the best health outcomes for people, animals, and plants in a shared environment. The time has come for all to work together.
There must be change. Education is key!