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FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme - Preventing the next zoonotic pandemic. Strengthening and extending the One Health approach to avert animal-origin pandemics

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) originated from an animal source, as have an estimated 60 percent of human infectious diseases. The pandemic emphasizes the need to prepare for, prevent, detect and respond to such diseases in areas where the next pandemic is likely to take hold. The risk is highest where there is close interaction between wildlife and intensifying livestock or agricultural production, and is often exacerbated where agriculture has encroached upon or put pressure on natural ecosystems. Particularly risky “spillover settings” include live animal markets and regions where there is a rise in wild meat consumption. The general overuse of antimicrobial drugs has caused a surge in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), adding to the risk of new or untreatable diseases.

Preventing dangerous spillovers involves working with those communities living in high-risk hotspots. Family farmers are most at risk, often women and children, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where medical, veterinary and animal production services are limited and food safety control systems are ill-equipped to prevent, detect and respond to emerging and resurgent zoonotic diseases.

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