Zoonoses Reports and Data
Notifications of Agents of Zoonotic Disease
Zoonoses are diseases and infections which are naturally transmittable between vertebrate animals and humans. The ones which cause major concern are those transmitted through food and water and are responsible for most reported and unreported foodborne illnesses. While it is possible for anybody to become infected with a zoonotic agent, certain population groups such as the very young, the elderly and immunocompromised are particularly vulnerable and at greater risk of more serious consequences. The eradication of zoonoses in humans and animals is a difficult if not impossible goal to achieve. However, the impact of zoonoses on the health of humans and animals can be limited by monitoring the reservoirs of infectious zoonotic agents with a view to understanding and controlling their modes of transfer, while educating the public about how to avoid or limit the risk of infection.
The European Community system for monitoring and reporting information on zoonoses is based on Directive 2003/99/EC. Annually the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishes a Community report on zoonoses and foodborne outbreaks in the European Union. While general pan-European trends may be deduced from Community reports, they should be viewed in context, taking into account variations in culture, diets, animal husbandry practices, types and extent of external borders, as well as national sampling, testing and reporting regimes.
The addition of a number of zoonoses to the list of notifiable human diseases in Ireland in 2004 has had an effect on the reported incidence rates of some zoonoses. The expanded list has resulted in a more accurate reflection of the incidence and impact of such diseases in Ireland, which in turn should permit a more confident assessment of emerging trends.
Last reviewed: 22/5/2018