Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be passed between animals and humans. The transfer can occur through direct contact with infected animals, through the consumption of contaminated foodstuffs, primarily those of animal origin, as well as through indirect contact (e.g. through a contaminated environment).
By monitoring zoonoses, we constantly acquire precise data regarding the occurrence of zoonotic pathogens along the entire grocery chain, from the environment, via veterinary medicine and foodstuff production right through to the consumers. On the basis of these facts and figures it is ultimately possible to take targeted measures to break the transmission chains of these pathogens.
The zoonoses reports are based on the so-called “Zoonoses Trend Reports”: These reports, which are to be produced annually by every EU Member State, contain amongst other things detailed results from the monitoring programmes. The European Food Safety Authority EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC collect these reports and from them produce the European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks.