[Zoonoses control--new challenges in health protection of consumers].Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2001 Nov-Dec; 114(11-12):420-7.BM
The eradication of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis of domestic stock in Germany through the combined efforts of veterinary medicine, the agricultural section and the state was an historic achievement. Since the two diseases are zoonoses, their successful control can also be seen as a valuable contribution to public health. Both these zoonoses are classic animal diseases presenting themselves as clinical entities complete with gross pathological lesions. In contrast, today we are confronted with pathogens causing zoonoses characterised by latent, i.e. clinically inapparent herd infections that do not result in visible tissue changes. Nevertheless, through contaminated foodstuffs, these pathogens contribute to food-borne infections leading to the outbreak of genuine zoonoses in humans. It has been estimated that there could be as many as two million cases of food-borne infections annually in Germany. Among them are salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, yersiniosis, infections with verotoxin producing E. coli, listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. While the national animal disease legislation only foresees the control of notifiable diseases, the basis for zoonoses control is laid down in the EU Zoonosis-Directive, which is presently awaiting its transposition into national law and into practice. In order, for instance, to combat the most important Salmonella infections of humans, Integrated Quality Systems (IQS) have been formulated as a means of implementing the proven HACCP concept in animal production units and ensuring animal health from the point of view of consumer protection. The aim of all measures must be to free infected herds of pathogens, to investigate and eliminate all sources with a potential for further pathogen introductions, to maintain pathogen-free herds--with a reduced pathogen challenge in mid-term time periods--, as well as to develop diagnostics capable of identifying pathogen carriers before slaughter. For the disinfection of stock, it is important to have epidemiological data collecting systems and information systems that allow complete diagnostic tracing from herd to slaughterhouse and vice versa. All sides, including research and surveillance, as well as producers are called upon to actively share in protecting the health of consumers as far as it is threatened by latent infections in domestic stock.