The Zoonotic TB (ZTB) Sub-section was formed in the early 2000’s when it became clear that there was a general lack of understanding and attention regarding ZTB by public health and animal health agencies, physicians and veterinarians, politicians, and the general public. It has long been forgotten that Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization in 1862 primarily to prevent the transmission of tuberculosis through contaminated cow milk. Through the hard work of the ZTB Sub-section and new allies in the public and animal health areas, in 2017, The “Roadmap for Zoonotic TB” was launched by the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. The “Roadmap” is a policy document that addresses the major health and economic impacts of this disease, prioritizing collation of scientific evidence, providing methodologies for reducing transmission at the animal-human interface, and strengthening collaborative approaches. In continued support of this document and with a global network of veterinarians, physicians, politicians, official regulators, researchers, economists, journalists, and social anthropologists, the ZTB Sub-section aims to understand the dynamics of ZTB and obtain global recognition for the immediate need to control this disease. Thus, this network with the Sub-section helping to coordinate efforts will provide a platform for collaboration, global advocacy, and support to all involved sectors in the prevention and control of ZTB and related issues
What is the group doing to achieve its aims?
We will continue developing the Working Group on “One Health” to re-enforce the ZTB agenda and the related challenges surrounding the emerging epidemics and pandemics caused by other zoonotic infectious diseases agents among humans and animals. Additionally, we also will be more involved in understanding the roles for environmental factors. With this more proactive ZTB Sub-section, and using the WHO “Roadmap” as a guide, we will reach out not only to governmental and public health sectors, but will more vigorously include current Sub-section members and more actively identify new members to garner suggestions and thoughts on how to target key groups in different countries. Overall, we hope to improve the Sub-section activities and potentially expand our Sub-section to become the “Zoonotic Diseases Sub-Section” in order to include and support other groups working on zoonotic diseases that have parallel work and efforts towards optimizing human and animal health.
Recent Zoonotic TB working group achievements:
The group had its one-year anniversary of the Zoonotic Tuberculosis (ZTB) Network: www.ztbnetwork.org
Because COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, the Sub-section expanded its footprint beyond only Zoonotic TB, and sponsored a Plenary Session at the 52nd Union World Conference on “One Health: Beyond Medicine”. This session discussed the importance of vaccines in the control of zoonotic epidemics/pandemics of the past decade including Ebola, Zika and now SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
The 52nd Union World Conference also had a strong emphasis on the relationship between COVID-19 and tuberculosis particularly in the areas of diagnosis and disease development. The Zoonotic Sub-section sponsored two Late Breaker sessions on “COVID-19 and tuberculosis”.