• Jun Park

Zoonotic Diseases - A Brief Look

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

When we realized we had on our a hands a new global Pandemic, Covid-19, it was too late. Today a Zoonotic disease that has killed thousands already keeps moving forward

Merriam Webster defintion:

an infection or disease that is transmissible from animals to humans under natural conditions also : an infection or disease that is transmissible between animals and humans bidirectionalzoonosis. Other Words from zoonosis. zoonotic\ ˌzō-​ə-​ˈnät-​ik \ adjective.

The world today has multiple channels of information which feed the confusion and mass hysteria that these times bring out that is reflected in compulsive shopping, all the way to wrongly aimed anger and aggression. Knowing what we face will get us through these times, so let's take a glance to what a Zoonotic Diseases we have seen in past 40 years.

North America

HIV, 1981, USA *

Hanta, 1993, USA

West Nile, 1999, USA

Swine Flu, 2009, USA / Mexico*


BSE, 1986, UK*

Trichinellosis, 2012, Italy*

Trichinellosis, 2014, Germany*

South America

Zika, 2015, Brazil

Africa & Middle East

Ebola 2014, Guinea*

Malaria, Central African Republic / Congo

Marburg, 2014, Angola

Mers, 2012, Saudi Arabia


Bird Flu, 2004, Regional*

Bird Flu 1997, China*

Sars, 2003, China*

Covid 19, 20019, China*

Nipah, 1998, Malaysia*


Hendra, 1994, Australia

*Due to animal exploitation

The trading and manipulation of wild animals increase the likelihood of these type of pathogens to develop infecting humans as these practices continue to be part of every day life of people.

"3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals."

CDC Control and Prevention

Some of the origin we think we know:

HIV - Human immunodeficiency Viruses 1981

Among the current viruses existing today, HIV for instance, is considered to be originated from eating chimpanzees due to the similarities with SIV (Simian immunodeficiency virus).

Ebola - 2014

Bats are considered to be the source of this.

BSE - Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or Mad Cow Disease

Originated from the U.K. when farmers turned their cattle to cannibal diets.

H1N1 - Swine Flu 2009

Originated in a farm in the U.S

The real cause of the growth in infectious diseases is linked to our increased demand for animal protein in our diet. Regardless of the country it originates from, it is only due to the demand that exists in the market combined with the exploitation practices humanity has adopted as a whole, are we being exposed to more potential diseases.

We may consider that the origin of the virus is not the country itself, but rather our own demand for exotic animal protein. As we can see from history, all animals are potential sources for very serious diseases due to our exploitation practices. Whether it has been chicken, pork, beef, we have had outbreaks, and remain exposed to outbreaks as long as our farming practices don't change.

Should we consider rather than seeing today's problem and see who to blame, we look at the patterns of our practices and admit that they are wrong?

Now that the world is united, many not by choice but rather by fear of what this pandemic may cause, we should look at our own lives and admit that we are all in part to blame. We are all at fault, and need to change our practices to not repeat our mistakes of the past. This is not a problem that we can easily change. However, the world has changed, and it is changing every day. As we remain in quarantine, and we think about what is going on, remember, once you know what is the problem, you can start looking for solutions.