Zoonotic diseases and trade
Disease and trade have a long-standing, interwoven history. During the 14th century, Europeans realized the value of exotic nature of goods and materials from Asia. In the summer of 1347, rats boarded Genoese ships at Caffa on the Black Sea, went through the Dardanelles, touched down at Messina, and later docked at Pisa, Genoa, and Marseilles. Less than a year later, plague appeared and spread to many ports on the Atlantic and Baltic coasts and subsequently to urban areas. In less than five years of Black Death, three out of every 10 Europeans, or some 24 million people, died. Many other zoonotic diseases such as yellow fever in Panama, anthrax in North America and recent avian influenza outbreaks in Asian and African countries are such examples. Despite such health risks, global trade increased substantially in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Globalization has reached a point where technical skills and intellectual capital know no borders — but neither do pathogens.
The direct and indirect costs of zoonotic disea ses ar e har d to q uantify comprehensively, since such costs involve many externalities for both the animal and human populations. Control of diseases in the animal population is crucial, as it represents primary prevention at the earliest opportunity. Zoonotic diseases have a negative impact on commerce, travel, and economies worldwide and continue to cause costly periodic disruptions in trade and commerce in every region of the world.