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Incidence of Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonotic diseases are diseases or infections that can be transferred directly or indirectly between humans and animal through consumption of contaminated animal products or byproducts or through contact with animals. There are a number of bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including Campylobacter spp, E.coli, and Salmonella spp. as well as viruses that can cause sickness (e.g., viruses avian and swine influenza). Campylobacter spp, E.coli, and Salmonella spp. are bacteria that cause food poisoning following consumption of contaminated livestock products. For example, Enterohaemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC) is a common strain carried by cattle, sheep, and pigs that through fecal material can contaminate meat and animal products. This E.coli species may detected in the intestines or hides of catch at slaughter or in meat samples at processing (Elder et al., 2000; Waller et al., 2010). Studies in the United States and Europe have found EHEC in 20-28% of hides and intestines, and 43% of meat samples at processing (WSPA, 2013; Waller et al., 2010; Elder et al., 2000). Although infections from this pathogen may be rare, the fact that they may be fatal in nature makes it a critical to examine and prevent (Pennington, 2010). Campylobacter is one of the largest cause of incidences of gastroenteritis (a stomach or intestinal infection that causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and fever ) (WSPA, 2013; WHO, 2012). Poultry is a major source of campylobacter and may be in the meat, liver, and intestines of poultry. However, it can also reside on the outside (skin) (EFSA, 2010) of other farm animals. Campylobacter is also a serious issue in the European Union where tests have found in some instances infections in more than 75% of the chicken on sale (EFSA, 2016; WSPA). 

In the developing world, due to low levels of surveillance, conclusive evidence is lacking on the actual prevalence of campylobacter, but data from clinical results indicate a high prevalence (Platts, Mills and Kosek, 2014; Lengerh et al., 2013). In developing countries, the risk factors are associated with environmental hazards such as drinking contaminated water. Additionally, incidences of campylobacter are more common in children than in adults (Coker et al., 2002). Campylobacter incidences have been observed with high incidences with ability to be associated with diarrhea in Malawi and temporary reduction in weight gain in children (3 months) (Lee et al., 2013). Studies also indicate that campylobacter in poultry may be reduced through the following measures: reducing acute stress of the birds during the process of transportation; monitoring practices such as “thinning” and “fasting” that increase bird stress, which predisposes birds to bacterial infection (Northcutt et al, 2003; WSPA, 2013)

How to operationalize the metric

Method of data collection and data needed to compute the method:

Data on prevalence of zoonotic diseases in these areas may be obtained from health centers. The cost of obtaining stool and blood sample to perform these tests on the human population may be cost prohibitive. If researcher knows the symptoms associated with a zoonotic disease and the pathogens, then data may be collected from the individuals via a survey, or the researcher may ask health centers if most of the population tend to show such symptoms.

Unit of analysis:

The unit of analysis is the number of persons infected by the disease per 100,000 of population.

Limitations regarding estimating and interpreting:

The limitation of this indicator and data source is that if there are no functional health centers where such data is collected, then assessing prevalence may be difficult and the project must decide whether or not to invest in such data collection for zoonotic disease prevalence.

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