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Systematic Review of Important Bacterial Zoonoses in Africa in the Last Decade in Light of the ‘One Health’ Concept

Virology and Microbiology Research Group, School of Health Sciences, College of health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban 4000, South Africa
Infectious Diseases and Anti-Infective Therapy Research Group, Sharjah Medical Research Institute and College of Pharmacy, University of Sharjah, Sharjah 27272, United Arab Emirates
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2019, 8(2), 50;
Received: 23 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonotic Diseases and One Health)
PDF [1669 KB, uploaded 22 April 2019]


Zoonoses present a major public health threat and are estimated to account for a substantial part of the infectious disease burden in low-income countries. The severity of zoonotic diseases is compounded by factors such as poverty, living in close contact with livestock and wildlife, immunosuppression as well as coinfection with other diseases. The interconnections between humans, animals and the environment are essential to understand the spread and subsequent containment of zoonoses. We searched three scientific databases for articles relevant to the epidemiology of bacterial zoonoses/zoonotic bacterial pathogens, including disease prevalence and control measures in humans and multiple animal species, in various African countries within the period from 2008 to 2018. The review identified 1966 articles, of which 58 studies in 29 countries met the quality criteria for data extraction. The prevalence of brucellosis, leptospirosis, Q fever ranged from 0–40%, 1.1–24% and 0.9–28.2%, respectively, depending on geographical location and even higher in suspected outbreak cases. Risk factors for human zoonotic infection included exposure to livestock and animal slaughters. Dietary factors linked with seropositivity were found to include consumption of raw milk and locally fermented milk products. It was found that zoonoses such as leptospirosis, brucellosis, Q fever and rickettsiosis among others are frequently under/misdiagnosed in febrile patients seeking treatment at healthcare centres, leading to overdiagnoses of more familiar febrile conditions such as malaria and typhoid fever. The interactions at the human–animal interface contribute substantially to zoonotic infections. Seroprevalence of the various zoonoses varies by geographic location and species. There is a need to build laboratory capacity and effective surveillance processes for timely and effective detection and control of zoonoses in Africa. A multifaceted ‘One Health’ approach to tackle zoonoses is critical in the fight against zoonotic diseases. The impacts of zoonoses include: (1) Humans are always in contact with animals including livestock and zoonoses are causing serious life-threatening infections in humans. Almost 75% of the recent major global disease outbreaks have a zoonotic origin. (2) Zoonoses are a global health challenge represented either by well-known or newly emerging zoonotic diseases. (3) Zoonoses are caused by all-known cellular (bacteria, fungi and parasites) and noncellular (viruses or prions) pathogens. (4) There are limited data on zoonotic diseases from Africa. The fact that human health and animal health are inextricably linked, global coordinated and well-established interdisciplinary research efforts are essential to successfully fight and reduce the health burden due to zoonoses. This critically requires integrated data from both humans and animals on zoonotic diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zoonosis; livestock; bacteria; antimicrobial resistance; animals; Africa; antibiotics; One-health; epidemiology Zoonosis; livestock; bacteria; antimicrobial resistance; animals; Africa; antibiotics; One-health; epidemiology

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Asante, J.; Noreddin, A.; El Zowalaty, M.E. Systematic Review of Important Bacterial Zoonoses in Africa in the Last Decade in Light of the ‘One Health’ Concept. Pathogens 2019, 8, 50.

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