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UN warns of rise in animal-to-human diseases

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A new report by the International Livestock Research Institute, ILRI has warned of future outbreaks of pandemics like COVID-19, if governments don’t take active measures to prevent other zoonotic diseases.

Zoonotic disease is a disease that has passed into the human population from an animal source.

The report, Preventing The Next Pandemic; Zoonotic Diseases And How To Break The Chain Of Transmission: is a joint effort by the UN Environment Programme, UNEP and ILRI.

It identifies seven trends driving the increasing emergence of zoonotic diseases, including increased demand for animal protein, a rise in intense and unsustainable farming, the increased use and exploitation of wildlife and the climate crises.

The report mentioned Africa as having experienced and responded to a number of zoonotic epidemics including Ebola and could be a source of solution to quell future outbreaks. Identifies ten practical steps that governments can take to prevent future zoonotic outbreaks.

It includes expanding scientific enquiry into zoonotic diseases, investigating in interdisciplinary approaches and strengthening monitoring and regulation practices associated with zoonotic diseases including food systems.

In a video launch, the Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Anderson said pandemics are devastating to lives and economies adding that the worst affected are vulnerable.

She said protecting the natural environment will prevent such outbreaks.

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