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Emerg Infect Dis. 1997 Apr-Jun; 3(2): 223–228.
PMCID: PMC2627609

Global aspects of emerging and potential zoonoses: a WHO perspective.


Many new human pathogens that have emerged or reemerged worldwide originated from animals or from products of animal origin. Many animal species as well as categories of agents have been involved in the emergence of diseases. Wild (e.g., bats, rodents) as well as draught animals (e.g., horses) and food animals (e.g., poultry, cattle) were implicated in the epidemiologic cycles of these diseases. Many of the agents responsible for new infections and diseases in humans were viruses (e.g., hantaviruses, lyssaviruses, and morbilliviruses), but bacteria, especially enteritic bacteria (e.g., Salmonellae and Escherichia coli) and parasites (e.g., Cryptosporidium) of animal origin, were also involved in major food and waterborne outbreaks. The public health relevance of some of these agents (e.g., new lyssaviruses and morbilliviruses) is not yet fully assessed. In addition the zoonotic nature of some other human diseases, such as Ebola and the new variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, is suspected but not yet demonstrated. Finally, the possible future use of xenografts may lead, if precautions are not taken, to the emergence of new diseases called xenozoonoses.

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Selected References

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  • Meslin FX. Surveillance and control of emerging zoonoses. World Health Stat Q. 1992;45(2-3):200–207. [PubMed]

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