Staat van Zoönosen 2020

Vlaanderen, Frits; Cuperus, Tryntsje; Keur, Ingrid; De Rosa, Mauro; Rozendaal, Harry; Friesema, Ingrid; Rietveld, Ariene; van der Poel, Wim; Franz, Eelco; Maassen, Kitty


Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Each year, at the request of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, RIVM prepares an overview of the most important zoonoses and indicates their prevalence in the Netherlands. The zoonoses in question are those that physicians and veterinarians have to report to the municipal health service (for people) or the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (for animals). Policymakers can use this information to take effective measures when necessary. The most important development in 2020 was the outbreak in March of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the Netherlands, the virus that causes COVID-19. It turned out that, in addition to humans, animals could also become infected, in particular minks. The government was planning to take measures to prevent minks from transmitting the coronavirus to humans. However, the number of infections under minks continued to increase. As a result, a decision was taken in 2020 to stop with mink farming in the Netherlands sooner than previously agreed upon. Another important development was the first infection of the West Nile virus in a bird (warbler) that was reported in the Netherlands. This virus is present in birds and is transmitted by mosquitoes who feed on the blood of infected birds. These mosquitoes transmit the virus to other birds and sometimes also to humans and mammals such as horses. In October 2020, the virus was found for the first time in the Netherlands in 8 different persons. Most persons infected with the virus do not become sick. About 1 out of every 5 infected persons develops mild flulike symptoms such as fever, headache, and muscle aches. Only 1% of infected persons develop a serious illness, such as encephalitis. Each year, the State of Zoonoses deals with a different theme. This year, the theme is ‘emerging zoonoses’. These are novel or familiar zoonoses for which the number of infections can suddenly increase rapidly. The theme this year deals with a number of emerging zoonoses which could suddenly increase in the Netherlands via wild animals, livestock, pets, and ticks and what is being done to prevent this from occurring.