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It is a fact that the world’s different regions are becoming more interconnected, caused by the growing global population, and with it comes an increase in food requirements (in terms of products derived from animals) and the intensification of animal-related food production.
As a result, the threat posed by animate and inanimate agents, which can be spread by
different carriers over long distances, is on the rise. It is therefore crucial to analyse the situation on a global level and to find any deficiencies at the level of Veterinary Public Health [VPH].
This literature study has as its subject the African continent. It is limited to three zoonotic pathogens, each of which is generally spread in different ways, but all of which can contribute to serious human diseases and cause death:
• Salmonella spread through any imaginable kind of contact (smear infection)
• Mycobacterium from infected animals and humans, transmitted in a direct way
• Trypanosome as an agent, transmitted indirectly or directly
Results of the study
Salmonella as a contributing cause of enteritic diseases, spread through various carriers such as animals, non-living carriers, food of any source and other carriers depending on the circumstances (special local circulations). The hygienic situation in Africa is precarious, which increases the risk of transferring Salmonella and such agents that are spread in similar ways.
Mycobacterium bovis/ tuberculosis, as causes of respiratory diseases (and generalisations) in humans and animals, spread mostly air-borne and originate from infected animals and
humans. The epidemiological paths are interdependent. Due to the displayable endemics of
tuberculosis, Africa is a heavily affected continent.
Trypanosome as a cause of Sleeping Sickness, among other animal diseases such as Nagana,
is spread by specific vectors (arthropods). These can be (evidently on a limited basis)
controlled, while other factors aid in quickly letting it gain the upper hand again. There
appears to be a lack of enforceability. This constitutes a difficult dilemma for the continent.
All three agents have been processed by numerous authors in various countries. There has
obviously been an intense cooperation of African authors with authors of other industrialised countries.
The focus was noticeably on tuberculosis (Ethiopia), Trypanosome (Ethiopia, Cameroun, and
Kenya). Regarding Salmonella contamination there is a general, broad-based consultation.
Veterinary Public Health
The public veterinary system aims to ensure that the animal population is healthy and to
prevent zoonotic pathogens from spreading to humans.
The implementation of public veterinary services in Africa as described in the literature
shows that there are weaknesses in the system: The available literature and the search terms in the literature are, if at all available, mostly object focussed (methodical, micro-biological, epidemiological topics) and generally do not refer to the VPH [veterinary public health] sector. The practical implementation (VPH) was often only of a formal nature and not related to the subject of limiting the above-mentioned problems.
This is aggravated by a weakened population compromised by social and political events.
Both sets of circumstances are closely linked.
A new orientation in the sector of controlling animal diseases and subsequently a new
orientation in animal and food hygiene (“VPH”) seems inevitable to improve the health of the animal population. This can be carried out step by step. Based on experience from other
countries and even other continents the following is recommended:
• complementing the veterinary medical treatment: training of non-professionals (paravets,
general education and information)
• tailoring veterinary medical training to local conditions
• health of the animals: installing comprehensive inspection systems (ability for checkups,
verifiability via modern communication systems such as those of telecommunication); to this end, the slaughtering of animals and the subsequent acknowledgement of diseases is important (meat control)
• developing practical recommendations on disease-oriented prevention
• detaching the veterinary management from its purely administrative context, with
more independence and better equipment, also transferring responsibility to people
active in the area, to allow them to develop a more focused problem-orientation.