The president of the veterinarians: “Right now, most diseases are zoonotic”

The last health alert unleashed, this time due to monkeypox —a crisis that is already beginning to stabilize—, has revealed, once again, a concept that with the coronavirus pandemic made more sense than ever: that of ‘one health’ (one health in English). Or, explained by Luis Alberto Calvo Saezpresident of the Veterinary College Organization (OCV), that health “must be monitored in many different places, in people, in animals and also in the environment because there are many factors involved”. And warns: you have to “be vigilant, now and always“Right now, he says, most diseases are zoonotic, that is, they are naturally transmitted between animals and people, directly or indirectly.

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reported this Wednesday that already More than 500 cases have been confirmed monkeypox in 30 countries where the virus is not endemic and has insisted that “anyone” can be infected. In Spain, figures start to stabilize and at the epicenter of the outbreak in our country, in Madrid, where more than half of those affected by this non-human variant of the smallpox virus are, they admit the possibility of reaching the peak of the curvealthough according to the experts, we still have to wait two more weeks, that is, two incubation periods, for the data to be confirmed and the crisis is closed.

“Suddenly, a disease that we believe is forgotten, because it catches us so far away, becomes strong because the world is globalized and it seems that we do not understand it,” says Calvo Sáez.

When the president of the Veterinary College Organization –The highest representative body, the more than 34,000 collegiate professionals in Spain, warns that the latest health alert that Europe is facing – when the coronavirus pandemic has not yet ended, he specifies – comes to demonstrate what veterinarians have always defended: that there are numerous factors -social, political, economic…- “which contribute to the fact that, suddenly, a disease that we believe is forgotten, because it catches us very far away, becomes clear and strong because the world is globalized and we have to worry. But it seems that we do not understand it. That is, we have to worry about our health and that of others”.

And in that surveillance of a single health in a globalized world, what role do veterinarians play? His highest representative replies: “The truth is that we don’t have a special role. Because, within the National system of healthwe are a little ‘sloped'”. He complains like this about lack of recognition within public health. A recognition that, from the collegiate body that presides over, is considered key to value the presence of these professionals in the health system.

preventive work

“We are primarily dedicated to preventive aspects in general: food safety, animal health, animal welfare and we continue to do what we do throughout the year: preventing salmonellosis or listeriosis from adding to each alert for covid or monkeypox, which They are constantly hidden and must be controlled. We are dedicated to that,” he says. Luis Alberto Calvo Saez

“We look at the preventive aspect and these diseases, unfortunately, have a curative interest, of healthcare medicine and, until they manifest and are treated at the hospital level, they don’t get famous. But, ultimately, we continue working like epidemiologistsnot in a special way, but what we normally do“, keep going.

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In the specific case of monkeypox, the president of the veterinarians indicates that “all the care in the world must be taken. Be vigilant, now and always, in this and other cases, to detect any possible outbreak and if in doubt, consult it. Any of us are exposed to getting sick“. He praises the role that the health authorities are playing to keep the population informed and refers to the crisis experienced with the coronavirus.

“You have to be aware that no one is absolutely safe” says the president of the veterinarians

Monkeypox, he says, is “a virus that is very contagious, but it seems that the route of contagion is not as alarming as when it is transmitted by airborne routewhich is the maximum expression of contagiousness”, points out the representative of the Spanish veterinarians who rescues the maxim of his profession: “Forecasting, prediction and control. We always say that. That is what you need to have. Above all, it is not necessary to think that everything happens to the neighbor. It can happen to anyone because viruses and bacteria do not have defined barriers“. Right now, warn Luis Alberto Calvo Saez, most diseases are zoonotic. “They are transmitted from people to animals and vice versa and that is why we must be aware that no one is absolutely safe“, he concludes.

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