Zoonotic diseases and trade, Biology

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.


  • l  The most important example of costs involved with the emergence of a zoonotic disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom, which eventually was identified as the causal agent of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The costs for BSE eradication, which escalated dramatically after the European countries ban on importing British beef, have finally crested. Costs initially estimated to about £ 237.6 million from 1989 to 1996. However, costs rose sharply after more extensive control measures, including the slaughter of infected and at-risk cattle, were fully instituted in 1996, totaling approximately £ 3.00 billion in the following 4 years.


  • The cost of avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 was hundreds of millions of dollars in lost poultry production, commerce, and tourism, with airport arrivals in that year alone down by 22 % from the preceding year.


  • The outbreak of cholera in Peru in 1991 cost the Peruvian fishing industry an estimated $775.00 million in lost tourism and trade because of a temporary ban on seafood exports.


  • In 1997 an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Taiwan devastated Taiwan’s pork industry — one of the largest in the world — shutting down exports for a full year.


  • In 1999, the Nipah virus infection in Malaysia caused the shutdown of over half of the country’s pig farms and an embargo against pork exports.


Posted Date: 9/20/2012 1:33:06 AM | Location : United States

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