A few days ago, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 goes beyond being a medical emergency as many aspects of human life are disrupted. Zoonotic diseases like the COVID-19 makes us understand the link between the environment, animals and humans, and how human activities that disrupt the ecosystem bring rise to these. So, how do we protect ourselves, and from an animal welfare perspective our companion and farm animals, from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases and prevent another one from happening?
Back on Justice Clearinghouse to provide a deep-dive on this timely subject is Dr. J Tischendorf. He is a wildlife biologist, veterinarian, and the founder and director of the American Ecological Research Institute (—ARRIE). He is involved in research and training as well as writing for numerous publications and advocating for global conservation.
Points he discussed in this course are:
- A backgrounder on zoonotic diseases – what they are, statistics, and its types.
- The concept of one health that highlights the link of environment, animal and human health.
- Specific zoonoses that are mainly transmitted through the respiratory route.
- Reviewing the Spanish flu – its mortality rate, its impact on humans, and presumed origins.
- The different major infectious agents and zeroing in on viruses – the lack of antiviral drugs and its management through supportive care.
- Coronaviruses: What it is, it’s history, characteristics, common symptoms, transmission, and treatment.
- Comparing some of the most recent zoonotic coronaviruses in terms of origins, numbers of cases, and fatality rate.
- How traditions and practices in some cultures gave rise to COVID-19.
- What we know about COVID-19 so far – high-risk segments, fatality rates, the incubation period, how it spreads, and the limitations of medical testing.
- The development of substances that could help control, if not eradicate, the spread of and fatalities due to COVID-19.
- A case study of a child that tested positive for COVID-19 through stool sampling.
- Coronavirus in animals: Various strains of coronavirus in cats and dogs and a case of a dog that tested positive with COVID-19.
- CDC’s statement on companion animals being not a risk or at risk to COVID-19 and guidelines on how to handle animals that are exposed to people with COVID-19.
- Recommendations on how to best deal with COVID-19 that looks at:
- Personal accountability, planning, and preparation when in a foreign place or traveling.
- An individual’s history of contracting illnesses like the common cold or flu.
- Understanding the various ways that COVID-19 may be transmitted.
- Animal control and care specific occupational risks.
- Redoubling practices of cleaning and disinfection when handling animals at home and in animal control facilities.
- Measures to prevent transmission through handwashing, social distancing/isolation, disinfection, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Pet-specific guidelines related to handling, travel, documentation, vaccination, diet, and equipment.
- Specific products proven to be effective disinfectants against COVID-19.
Audience questions were about:
- Resources and preparation required to develop a preparedness plan for future zoonotic diseases.
- Precautions, procedures, and recommended products when handling animals whose owners were infected.
- Scheduled community activities.
- Specific types of disinfectants, and contact time to ensure disinfection.
- Misleading data reporting of COVID-19 incidents around the world.
- Guidelines for farm animals and wildlife.
- The segment of the population that are more likely to be susceptible to COVID-19.
- Pet as possible dead-end hosts to COVID-19.
- Potential contamination of products being shipped from China.
Referenced Mentioned During the Webinar
- “VERY Informative – the speaker is a wealth of knowledge! This should be available to the masses that are panicking, to keep it in perspective. THANK YOU!” — Roseann
- “There was a lot of information that is important for animal welfare workers and understanding more about coronaviruses in general.” — Christina
- “The science was very interesting. Thank you!” — Darby
- “Excellent question and answer session.” — k
- “I work in healthcare and this seminar was outstanding for disease control and understanding of how diseases transmit.” — Cheryl
- “This was by far the best Webinar I have ever taken….informative, thorough and interesting and I have been following COVID-19 very carefully. thank you for this and thanks to Dr. Tischendorf.” — Marie Louise
- “Thank you for this webinar.. It was a must and you were the first to have it…. Good work!” — Robert