A total of 100 researchers from 15 countries met at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in order to discuss the development of eradication and control of zoonotic diseases at the global level. The meeting, which took place from 24 to 28 May 2016, resulted in a recommendation for the government of each country and the international community to work together more closely in various fields in order to support the eradication and control of zoonotic diseases. “To meet that goal, it’s necessary for exchange of expertise and experience of each country to optimize the role of each party through the development of training and joint research,” said the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Joko Prastowo, in a press release on Monday (30/5).
According to Joko, zoonotic diseases caught the attention of researchers from various disciplines working to improve the health of humans and animals. The high impact of climate change, extreme weather, and its variations, have resulted in a wide range of diseases to be rapidly evolving and spreading. The high rate of disease in the ASEAN countries, the rate from one island to another island in Indonesia, and the pattern of distribution of diseases, make it very important for this issue to be discussed jointly by researchers from across different disciplines.
The zoonotic problem, said Joko, should pose a serious concern for the government of each country within ASEAN. He saw the problems of high population density and land conversion to settlements from farms are the areas highly suited to the emergence of infectious diseases that can threaten the health of humans, livestock, and wild animals.
The meeting was attended by researchers from various universities in ASEAN, as well as researchers from various European and American countries, such as Spain, Czech Republic, France, UK, USA and Australia. The issues discussed were related to zoonotic diseases, such as Avian Influenza, Swine Influenza, Enchephalitis, Trypanosomiasis, Rabies, Antibiotic Resistance (AMR) and other issues related to the development of disease-spreading vectors such as flies, bats and rats. Other topics of discussion were malaria from animal primates, toxoplasmosis, scabies, worm diseases that can be transmitted from animals and fish to humans and vice versa.
Dr. Wisnu Nurcahyo, one of the researchers at the Faculty of Veterinary of Medicine UGM, said that a zoonotis is a disease that can be transmitted from humans to animals and vice versa. Out of 1,415 peagen pathogens in humans, 868 (61%) were categorized as zoonotic diseases. In addition, 75% of the diseases that are emerging lately are zoonotic. “The presence of vectors and other infectious diseases from animals make this a strategic issue, so it should be a joint responsibility to overcome them,” he said.
GREASE is a network of ASEAN countries that focus on risk management of disease threats that may occur in their countries and globally. GREASE consists of research institutions and universities in ASEAN, such as Universitas Gadjah Mada, University of Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen University, Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, National University of Laos, National Veterinary Research Institute in Cambodia, National Institute of Veterinary Research (NIVR) in Vietnam, Veterinary Research Institute in Malaysia, National University of Singapore, Central Mindanao University and the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, both in the Philippines, and Sun Yat-Sen University in China. Universitas Gajah Mada, through the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, is the only university in Indonesia that has joined this network. Implementation of this network has the support of CIRAD, a French agricultural research and international cooperation organization that works for sustainable development.