Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology, in association with the Wayanad district administration, is gearing up to conduct researches on zoonotic diseases in Wayanad, a landscape known for human-wildlife coexistence as well as conflicts. “Zoonotic diseases are on the rise now owing to anthropogenic activities such as deforestation, urbanisation and agricultural expansion”, C.K. Vishnudas, director, Hume Centre, has said.
Climate vagaries have also added fuel to it by helping the pathogens to spread on a much faster pace, since the rising global temperature favours them, Mr. Vishnu said.
“Being a tropical region and subjected to increase in ambient temperature, the district is more vulnerable to zoonosis”, Mr. Vishnudas said, adding that the factors such as coexistence of wildlife, high density of cattle population and climate changes also contributed to the spread of the diseases.
The study will focus on collecting data on hotspots of human-animal conflicts, potential sites of spillover diseases as well as significant sites of disease hosts. Diseases such as monkey fever, COVID-19, brucellosis, dengue, swine flu, bird flu, leptospirosis, tuberculosis and anthrax would be included in the study.
The centre has identified man-animal conflict areas in the district and has divided them into cells of 25 sq.km each to conduct the survey. A mobile app has been developed for the purpose. The centre also planned to conduct awareness programmes among the public.
Successful completion of the study will help identify the potential vectors and the areas most prone to the diseases. It will help predict probable outbreaks in the future. The study will be carried out with the support of Anaha Trust.