Throughout this week (2-6 July), Animal Health Australia (AHA) is running Zoonosis Awareness Week, promoting awareness of diseases that pose a risk to people working in rural areas or in close proximity to livestock and other animals.
“Zoonotic diseases are those which can pass from animals to people and vice versa—and a number of these, such as Q fever, are endemic to Australia,” said Dr Simon Humphrys, executive manager Biosecurity and Product Integrity.
“Zoonotic disease is a real risk to agricultural workers and it can have long-term consequences—for your physical and mental health and even your business.”
AHA’s Zoonosis Awareness Week runs this week to coincide with World Zoonosis Day on Friday 6 July. AHA is using the occasion to post daily on its social media pages—@AnimalHealthAustralia on Facebook and @AHA_au on Twitter—to help raise awareness of zoonotic disease prevention, symptoms, treatment and research.
Get involved—using the hashtag #BeZoonosisAware – and join the conversation by sharing the posts or contributing your own.
“We also encourage you to take the time to bring up the topic with friends, family and employees that live or work around livestock,” Dr Humphrys said.
“Information can help prevent the spread of these diseases and may even save someone’s life. Let’s all work together and get the information out there to the people that need it—the more people that get involved, the more people we can reach.”
Where possible, it is important to take precautions to reduce the risk. This can be through general knowledge of the risks, vaccination of livestock for known zoonotic diseases or vaccination for people in the industry.