Zoonotic disease Surveillance

Nepal being a biodiversity rich country possesses a variety of flora and fauna. For the conservation of such diversity, Nepal government has established 12 National Parks, 1 Wildlife Reserve, 1 Hunting Reserve and 6 Conservation Areas and 13 Buffer Zones. Bardia National Park is the largest National Park of Nepal which is also a home to several endangered animals such as Bengal tiger, wild elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, swamp deer and black buck. The Nepal government declared an area of 327 km2 surrounding the park as a buffer zone. The buffer zone comprises forests as well as private lands.(DNPWC Home page) These buffer zones act as a common ground for interaction between wildlife and humans, which in turn can lead to transmission of zoonotic diseases.

Zoonotic diseases with epidemic, endemic, and pandemic potential are a major public health concern in Nepal because of the country’s dual disease burden. Around 300 zoonotic illnesses have been detected globally, of which 60 have been shown to be re-emerging or emerging in Nepal. The department of Health Services, Nepal has listed Influenza A (Avian and Seasonal), Rabies, Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Brucellosis, Salmonellosis, Leishmaniasis, Zoonotic Tuberculosis, Cystode (Cysticercosis/Hydatidis) and Toxoplasmosis as the prioritized zoonotic diseases in Nepal. Active surveillance of all these diseases is necessary to determine the burden as well as limit the transmission of zoonotic diseases among humans and animals.

Therefore, the proposed study aims to establish an active zoonotic disease surveillance response and mitigation program at various national parks starting with pilot study from Bardia National Park.