Written by Sofiya Shahiwala
Back in school, we might have read an insignificant paragraph or two about Viruses. However, little did we know that more than half of us would be researching for those microbial creatures during a Pandemic in 2020…
Having done all the research about the outbreak of COVID-19 from our part, let us now go a little deeper. It is claimed that a bat has caused such monstrous havoc in all the countries of the world. Nevertheless, no virus can stop us from being curious, can it?
Zoonotic Diseases are diseases that are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites which spread from animals to humans. All humans love animals; they provide food, fibre and companionship to people across the globe. However, some of the most life-threatening diseases have spread from animals. Ebola, Salmonellosis, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, etc. are included in this list. Even HIV started off as a Zoonotic Disease which spread from monkeys and chimps.
Now, how do these viruses jump from animals to humans? Is eating them always the problem? No!
For any disease (contagious) to spread, the vital phase is contact with the infected being. No denying, eating an animal is getting in direct touch with it. However, if the animal is completely cooked, there is a low risk of getting infected.
Fact: Most Microorganisms cannot survive high temperatures.
Then how does the disease spread?
A lot of times, the handling of the animal before consuming it is considered to be the problem. This includes killing the animal, butchering it, skinning it, etc.
Moreover, staying away from all animals is considered to be foolish. A zoonotic disease can be spread by various insects which come in contact with both – the host (of the virus) as well as humans. Apart from that, one can also get infected by coming into direct contact with the saliva, blood or mucus of an infected animal. Drinking water that is contaminated by the faces of the infected can also be a reason for getting infected.
As the disease spreads from person to person, and at a greater geographical level, infecting many people from different parts of the world, the situation is called a Pandemic.
Colin Parrish, a virology professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine said that preparing for a Pandemic is like preparing for an asteroid attack or a major earthquake. One may have a rough idea about it happening, but it would be difficult to prepare for a pandemic without knowing where or when it will strike.
Hence, what we need to do in our parts during a time of crisis is to keep calm and follow the orders of the people who know better. Apart from that, one should always try to make themselves and the ecosystem around them cleaner and healthier.