After more than two years of the pandemic, there are still several unanswered questions. One of the main ones is about the origin of the disease Although there are several hypotheses. One of the most recognized affirms that everything arose from zoonosis because that’s how other types of coronavirus. It has not yet been verified but all roads lead to that idea. With this in mind, one of the keys is to determine how you can reduce the transmission of Covid-19.
Based on the above, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) made an important announcement. It is a manual for reduce the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between humans and wildlife.
The call seeks reduce the risk of the appearance of variants and protect both humans and wildlife. It also urges the authorities to adopt the relevant regulations and disseminate the recommendations previously published by the three organizations for people who work in close contact with wildlife and the general public.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is caused by person-to-person transmission, it is known that the virus that causes COVID-19 also infects animal species.
Although the current findings indicate that wildlife does not play an important role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. Its spread in animal species can affect their health and facilitate the appearance of new variants of the virus.
Transmission between animals and humans is proven
In addition to domestic animals, there is evidence that free-ranging, captive, or farmed wild animals such as big cats, mink, ferrets, North American white-tailed deer, and great apes can be infect with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
To date, it has also been shown that farmed mink and companion hamsters can transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 to humans. A possible case of transmission between a white-tailed deer and a human is currently being studied.
The introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife could lead to the establishment of animal reservoirs. As an example, about one-third of wild white-tailed deer in the United States of America have been infected with the virus, initially through multiple cases of human-to-human transmission.
Guidance for professionals and for the population
Personnel working in close contact with wildlife should be trained in how to apply measures that reduce the risk of human-to-human and human-to-animal transmission. In addition, WHO advice on how to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19. FAO guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and good hygiene practices around animals should also be followed.
Current evidence suggests that humans they do not become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus by eating meat. However, hunters are advised not to track down animals that appear sick or pick up dead ones.
The use of proper butchery and food preparation techniques, including proper hygiene practices, can limit the transmission of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and other zoonotic pathogens.
In relation to the public and as a general precaution, people should not approach or feed wild animals, nor touch or eat those that are orphaned, sick or dead (including those run over). The indicated response is to contact the local authorities in charge of wildlife management or a health professional specialized in that area.
It is also crucial to safely dispose of uneaten food, masks, bandanas and any other human waste to avoid attracting wildlife, especially in urban areas, and to keep pets away from wildlife if possible. wild and their droppings.
Additional measures to reduce the transmission of Covid-19
- Promote collaboration between the national veterinary services and the national authorities in charge of wildlife.
- Promote surveillance of wildlife and enhance the use of samples from wild animals that are known to be susceptible to contracting SARS-CoV-2.
- Share all genetic sequence data from animal surveillance studies through publicly accessible databases
Inform the World Organization for Animal Health of confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in animals through the World Animal Health Information System.
- Carefully craft messages about SARS-CoV-2 in animals to prevent public misconceptions from negatively impacting conservation efforts. No animal infected with SARS-CoV-2 should be abandoned, rejected or euthanized without justification for a country- or case-specific risk assessment.
- Suspend the sale of live wild mammals in food markets as an emergency measure.