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Zoonoses

Introduction to zoonoses

Zoonoses are diseases and infections which are naturally transmittable between vertebrate animals and man (World Health Organization). They include a wide variety of disease types (parasitic, fungal, bacterial and viral) that differ both clinically and epidemiologically. The fundamental reason why these diseases are grouped together is that successful control strategies require combined multi-disciplinary and multi-agency efforts. Transmission can occur as a result of direct contact with infected animals, animal tissue urine and faeces or through infected insect vectors or by the consumption of contaminated water and food.

The zoonoses which cause major concern are those transmitted through food and water and are responsible for the majority of reported and unreported foodborne illnesses. Modern food production methods and widespread distribution of food products mean that high numbers of people can be potentially exposed to pathogens from a single source. The most common of these diseases include salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and more recently, verotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) infection.

Notifications of agents of zoonotic disease

Under the Infectious Diseases Regulations, 1981 (as amended), medical practitioners and clinical directors of diagnostic laboratories are required to transmit notification of cases of infectious disease to a medical officer of health. These notifications are forwarded to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) that then collates, analyses and reports on the data.

Listed below is a summary of notifications of agents of zoonotic disease, however full reports can be found on the HPSC website: www.hpsc.ie

 

Zoonoses notifications 2004-2008 (Source HPSC)

Disease

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008*

Campylobacter infection

1,710

1,801

1,812

1,891

1752

Cryptosporidiosis

431

568

367

609

416

Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis)

3

4

5

5

Not yet available

Salmonellosis

416

347

422

456

449

Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli

67

134

174

192

241

Brucellosis

60

53

29

28

3

Toxoplasmosis

33

45

44

49

64

Listeriosis

11

12

7

21

13

Leptospirosis

15

15

20

22

30

Yersinosis

6

3

1

6

3

nv Creutzfeldt Jakob disease

0

2

1

0

0

Anthrax

0

0

0

0

0

Echinococcosis

0

0

0

0

2

Trichinosis

0

0

0

2

1

Rabies

0

0

0

0

0

*Provisional data

 

Reports relating to zoonoses

The FSAI, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) and the HPSC, publish annual reports on zoonoses in Ireland . The reports bring together the results of thousands of tests carried out on nationwide samples of food and feed, as well as tests on material of animal or human origin, in an effort to determine the pattern and extent of infection by zoonotic pathogens transmitted to humans from animals.

Zoonotic Tuberculosis and Food Safety (2008)

Report on Zoonoses in Ireland, 2006 & 2007 

Report on Zoonoses in Ireland, 2005 

Report on Zoonoses in Ireland, 2004 

Report on Zoonoses in Ireland, 2002 & 2003 

Report on Zoonoses in Ireland 2001 & 2002 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Community Summary Reports on Trends and Sources of Zoonoses, Zoonotic Agents and Antimicrobial Resistance in the European Union.

Community Summary Reports:

2007

2006

2005 

2004 

Last reviewed: 13/7/2011