Controlling and Preventing Emerging Bacterial Zoonoses in Nigeria

Bacterial zoonoses are infectious diseases caused by bacteria that can be transmitted from animals to humans. They tend to re-emerge, posing significant challenges to public health. This article sheds light on the control, prevention, and intervention measures for emerging bacterial zoonoses in Nigeria, the most populated nation in Africa. Despite the transmission of these diseases within the country, the lack of robust epidemiological surveillance has resulted in their underestimation and inadequate prioritization in national public health policies. This article emphasizes the need for a comprehensive evaluation of potential reservoirs, vectors, and transmission cycles, along with the implementation of animal health interventions and a community-based One Health program. By providing a Nigerian perspective, we aim to generate awareness and drive investment in relevant public health interventions.

The Global Impact of Zoonotic Diseases:

Infections transmitted from wildlife to humans, including zoonotic diseases, have a significant impact on global morbidity and mortality rates. Nigeria, with its large population and economy, is no exception to this trend. Zoonotic diseases constitute a substantial proportion of human pathogens, with approximately 60% of known infectious microorganisms capable of infecting both animals and humans. It is crucial to acknowledge the potential long-term consequences of zoonotic diseases on life expectancy and overall health.

The Resurgence of Bacterial Zoonoses:

Historically, zoonotic bacterial diseases such as bubonic plague and bovine tuberculosis have caused immense harm to humanity. In modern times, the re-emergence and spread of bacterial zoonoses have become a growing concern worldwide. Animals are frequently identified as reservoir hosts for a wide range of potential pathogens. It is estimated that over 600 million people globally depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Unfortunately, marginalized populations, who often lack access to adequate healthcare, are most vulnerable to zoonotic diseases.

Addressing the Neglected Burden in Nigeria:

Bacterial zoonoses often go unrecognized, especially in malaria-endemic areas like sub-Saharan Africa, where they can be misdiagnosed as other more prevalent infections. Nigeria, in particular, faces challenges due to the lack of accurate epidemiological data on bacterial zoonoses. Fever of unknown origin (FUO) is a common but poorly understood condition, leading to misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment. To combat these challenges, there is an urgent need for comprehensive research on potential reservoirs, vectors, and transmission cycles of bacterial zoonoses in Nigeria.

Promoting Control and Prevention Strategies:

Animal health interventions have emerged as economically viable and practical approaches to combat bacterial zoonoses. By implementing these interventions, we can reduce the risk of zoonotic infections and their associated febrile illnesses. Additionally, the establishment of a community-based One Health program is crucial. This program will enable collaboration between various sectors, facilitating the collection of comprehensive epidemiological data necessary to prioritize and address bacterial zoonoses effectively. Investment in relevant public health interventions is crucial to mitigating the impact of bacterial zoonoses in Nigeria, a country with a significant burden of these infectious diseases.


As bacterial zoonoses continue to emerge and pose a threat to public health, it is essential to focus on control, prevention, and intervention strategies. Nigeria, being the most populous nation in Africa, faces significant challenges due to the lack of epidemiological data and inadequate prioritization of bacterial zoonoses. By implementing animal health interventions and promoting a community-based One Health program, we can improve our understanding of bacterial zoonoses and their impact on public health. This, in turn, will lead to more effective control measures and targeted investments in relevant public health interventions, benefiting not only Nigeria but also other low-income contexts worldwide. It is crucial to recognize the potential long-term consequences of bacterial zoonoses on life expectancy and overall health. By addressing these neglected infectious diseases, we can improve disease control, enhance healthcare outcomes, and protect vulnerable populations.

To summarize, this article has provided a comprehensive perspective on the control, prevention, and intervention of emerging bacterial zoonoses in Nigeria. Despite their re-emergence and transmission within the country, bacterial zoonoses have been underreported and inadequately prioritized in national public health policies. To address this issue, there is a critical need for robust epidemiological surveillance, extensive evaluation of reservoirs and vectors, and the implementation of animal health interventions. Additionally, fostering the operation of a community-based One Health program is essential to gathering comprehensive epidemiological information and driving investment in relevant public health interventions. By taking these measures, Nigeria can mitigate the burden of bacterial zoonoses and improve the overall health and well-being of its population. It is imperative that stakeholders, policymakers, and healthcare professionals collaborate to raise awareness, allocate resources, and implement effective strategies to control and prevent emerging bacterial zoonoses in Nigeria. Only through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach can we successfully combat these infectious diseases and safeguard public health in Africa’s most populous country.


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