Zoonotic Risks from Domestic Animals in Ghana

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Papa Kofi, Amissah-Reynolds
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International Journal of Pathogen Research
Zoonoses are diseases or infections which are naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans and vice versa. These infections account for more than half of human infections worldwide, with most cases reported in developing countries like Ghana. The Government of Ghana recently launched the “Rearing for Food and Jobs Campaign”, an initiative to bridge the glaring deficit in protein supply. This has resulted in increased livestock production nationwide in response to the increasing demand for animal protein. Increase in both human and livestock population in the country have implications for transmission of zoonotic diseases, as it allows for more frequent interactions between the two within a limited space. Multiple animals are kept in various homes at varying levels of confinement. Security concerns, particularly in urban areas, have resulted in an increased reliance on dogs, while financial considerations have mainly driven a rapid increase in livestock production both at commercial and smallholder levels. Taking into account that the pandemics in the past few decades have animal origins, this growing human animal interconnection is of concern. Albeit an increased household-human-animal ratio, there is a paucity of epidemiological data on domestic animals in Ghana. Several zoonotic diseases have been reported in Ghana, including rabies, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, Q-fever, hepatitis E and brucellosis. Risk factors such as close contact with animals, poor hand hygiene, poor sanitation, and unvaccinated, free-ranging animals have been linked with zoonotic transmissions. Zoonoses have been recorded in homes, slaughterhouses, and on farms in farm workers, butchers, and vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women, and HIV patients. A ‘One-Health’ approach, which comprises well-coordinated activities of both health and veterinary services, will facilitate timely diagnosis and effective control of zoonoses in Ghana.
Amissah-Reynolds, P. K. (2020). Zoonotic risks from domestic animals in Ghana. International Journal of Pathogen Research, 4(3), 17-31.