The One Health Poultry Hub social science team at Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India, conducted an awareness programme and pledge campaign to mark World Zoonoses Day 2024, offering biosecurity information and personal hygiene advice to meat traders and buyers in a local market.

Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can transfer between animals and people, such as COVID-19, avian influenza and rabies. In recent years, zoonotic foodborne illnesses, resulting from poor handling, storing and cooking of meat and seafood, have been on the increase. In particular, cases of food poisoning resulting from eating the popular shawarma dish, at times leading to death, have caused concern in India.

Hub researcher Dr Ganesh Janarthanan said:

Awareness of zoonoses is essential for early detection, prevention, and control. It is important to educate the public about the differences between zoonotic and non-zoonotic diseases to reduce unwarranted fear and to promote an informed approach to animal health and safety.


By understanding these differences and focusing on appropriate disease management practices, we can ensure the health of both animals and humans, contributing to a safer and more secure environment for all.

To mark World Zoonoses Day, Dr Janarthanan and Vigneshvaran Paramasivam, social scientists with the One Health Poultry Hub, attended a symposium, ‘Bacterial Zoonoses: Indian Perspective’ at Hub partner institute Christian Medical College, Vellore. Here, they joined other researchers in signing a pledge (right) to help prevent the spread of disease from animals to humans and also humans to animals.

The researchers then conducted an awareness programme at a nearby market. They distributed pamphlets to meat handlers, traders and consumers, and research staff explained the importance of biosecurity and personal hygiene. They also explained the role of the One Health Poultry Hub in disease prevention.

Researchers asked traders to sign a World Zoonoses Day pledge to follow good personal hygiene to help prevent the spread of disease from animals to humans and from humans to animals.

Dr Janarthanan said: “People were happy to sign the chart board pledge, which we pinned on the market walls. The meat handlers said this was the first such programme they had seen in their lives and it was helpful to be informed about poultry diseases, zoonotic spread and personal hygiene.”

man in checked short speaking to a man handling raw meat
Speaking to a stallholder in a Vellore market.