World Zoonoses Day 2020

Published on 3 July 2020

Monday 6th July 2020 marks World Zoonoses Day 2020.  This year, the 150 partners in the One Health Poultry Hub will observe a two-minute silence of private reflection on those who are known, and those who remain unknown, who are suffering from endemic and emergent zoonotic diseases. These diseases, such as Covid-19 and Ebola, affect millions of communities around the world every year. The two-minute silence will take place at noon local time.

©Baron Reznik, 'Mooving Through Town'(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
©Baron Reznik, ‘Mooving Through Town'(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The 6th July was chosen for World Zoonoses Day as it was on this day in 1885 that Louis Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccine against the rabies virus, a deadly zoonotic disease. Pasteur, a biologist, and chemist from France who made ground-breaking discoveries on the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurisation – milestones in our understanding of disease management in people and animals.

World Zoonoses Day marks Pasteur’s many achievements, while also drawing attention to the continuous devastation caused by many modern zoonotic diseases – those that, like Covid-19, are.

This year’s World Zoonoses Day comes amidst the defining global health crisis of our time. In the context of the global pandemic, the world’s attention has been focused around one infectious zoonotic diseases. While major recent zoonotic modern disease outbreak, such as Covid-19 or Ebola, and cause major world disruption, much of the work the One World Poultry Hub and other One Health research projects explore concerns diseases that go under the news radar but are still devastating, those such as salmonella and other foodborne diseases. The reasons these diseases remain little talked about are complex – not least that how they are transmitted and approaches to managing them are often hard to fit into traditional media narratives.

IDS is committed to reducing extreme inequalities while fostering healthy and fulfilling lives and as such has developed social science expertise exploring zoonotic diseases, working together with partners in the natural and other sciences. One Health recognises that human, animal and environmental health are interconnected, and as such this kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary and integrated approach to zoonoses research, policy and management is needed.

IDS is a partner in the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) One Health Poultry Hub, which is working in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, exploring how rapid expansion of poultry production increases risk of infectious disease and why certain processes and behaviours are risky. The Hub will be holding a two-minute silence to mark World Zoonoses Day. Read more in this blog from the Hub’s Director Fiona Tomley ‘Why we are saying nothing on World Zoonoses Day 2020’.

IDS has also worked with projects in the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock (ZELS) programme, including the ongoing Myanmar Pig Partnership. The partnership is an interdisciplinary research project, which is exploring the disease risk thought to accompany changing pig production and consumption patterns in Myanmar.

Further information about our collaborative projects can be found below:

Ebola Response Anthropology Platform

Tackling Deadly Disease in Africa Programme (TDDAP)

Epidemic Response Anthropology Platform

Pandemic Preparedness: Local and Global Concepts and Practices in Tackling Disease Threats in Africa

Social Science in Humanitarian Action: a Communication for Development Platform

Key contacts

Naomi Marks

Project Communications Manager


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