Veterinarians and livestock farmers, a winning partnership
Sunday, 29 March 2009
In this era, more than before, there have been many animal disease outbreaks. Some of the diseases could be transmitted to human (zoonoses) causing turbulence in global social and economy and generating panic at national, regional and even global level. These recent crises illustrate how serious animal health issues could globally influence the economy and consumers, and that it is a relevant threat to public health.
In the context of organism as disease agents, 1,415 species have been identified to cause disease in humans, comprising of 217 kinds of viruses and prion, 538 kinds of bacteria and rickettsias, 307 kinds of fungi, 66 kinds of protozoa, and 287 kinds of worms. From 1,415 species, 868 species (68%) are classified as zoonoses and 175 species of pathogens are associated with new diseases. From the group of 176 new emerging pathogens, 132 species (75%) are zoonoses (Cleaveland et al, 2001).
Veterinarians in many countries play a center role in protecting animal health and public health, but the effectiveness of their efforts is closely related to their relationship with livestock farmers. In reality, livestock farmers all around the world are the first line of defense in detecting animal disease and the main fighters against various animal diseases; therefore their role is crucial and irreplaceable. Farmers are also the ones that will suffer from losses due to animal disease.
A number of zoonotic diseases that are in the strategic animal disease list of Indonesia, such as anthrax, avian influenza, salmonellosis, and brucellosis, are animal diseases that affect livestock. Other important zoonotic diseases that must be of concern are rabies, tuberculosis, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, Japanese encephalitis, streptococcosis/staphylococcosis, and clostridium (tetanus). Besides that there are several zoonotic diseases related to food safety (food borne disease) in Indonesia such as camphylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, shigella, yersinia, verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC), and listeriosis.
Experience has shown how important it is to motivate 600 million livestock farmers around the world to participate in controlling animal disease. Therefore, increasing veterinarian-supported animal health management trainings is a vital step in initiating various risk anticipation strategies and developing a relationship beneficial for all parties involved. Early warning followed by rapid response is the key in controlling sources of infectious animal disease, which is done through integration of all stakeholders in the disease prevention and control system. In spirit of World Veterinary Day 2009 celebrated on April 25, 2009, with the theme “Veterinarians and livestock farmers, a winning partnership”, let us develop a winning partnership for the health of all.