ILRIIndia finds a prime spot among countries with high incidences of zoonotic diseases, according to the new study by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). More than fifty zoonoses are estimated to cause 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million human deaths a year. (Courtesy: International Livestock Research Institute). Based on the impacts on human and animal health, thirteen zoonotic diseases were identified: zoonotic gastrointestinal disease; leptospirosis; cysticercosis; zoonotic tuberculosis; rabies; leishmaniasis; brucellosis; echinococcosis; toxoplasmosis; Q fever; zoonotic trypanosomosis, hepatitis E and anthrax.

About 75% of recently-identified emerging infectious diseases affecting humans in India are reported to be of animal origin. About 75% of the emerging infectious diseases and 60% of all human diseases world wide, have been found to be zoonotic. The Institute of Zoology (UK) findings suggest that most of these human infections are acquired from the 24 billion livestock. It also has ranked India at the top, followed by Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

The report also classified the zoonoses into three broad categories as Endemic (responsible for roughly 99.9% human illnesses and 96% of deaths resulted out of zoonoses: brucellosis, leptospirosis, and salmonellosis), Epidemic        ( sporadic, unpredictable but may be more severe: anthrax, rabies, Rift Valley fever, and leishmaniasis) and Emerging zoonoses (relatively rare: HIV).

India appears first in terms of poor livestock keepers, protein energy malnutrition, zoonoses burden and fifth in endemic zoonoses prevalence. According to the report, roughly 1 billion poor people depend on livestock and 66% of rural poor and 33% of the urban poor rely on livestock. The report tells us that 20-50% of the income and 6-36% of protein intake are generated from livestock resources in poor and developing countries.