Zoonoses as Important Causes of Hospital Admissions: A 15-Year Study in Portugal

Miguel Canhão-Dias, Tomás Matos Pires, Rita Henriques, David G. Lopes, Luís Manuel Madeira De Carvalho

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Introduction: Zoonoses represent 75% of emerging diseases. These diseases pose a permanent threat to human health and well-being and have the potential to become increasingly frequent due to habitat degradation; land-use changes; and increased global mobility of humans, animals, and animal products. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact ten zoonoses (brucellosis, cysticercosis, echinococcosis, leishmaniasis, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, rabies, toxoplasmosis, trichinellosis, and West Nile fever) had on human hospitalizations between 2002 and 2016 in Portuguese National Health Service hospitals. Material and Methods: A retrospective nationwide study was conducted using hospitalization records gathered by Administração Central do Sistema de Saúde from all Portuguese public hospitals. Results: Between 2002 and 2016, zoonoses caused 181,741 hospitalizations, a total number of hospitalization days of 2,033,125, and 10,611 deaths. The ten studied zoonoses caused 5,183 hospitalizations, 71,548 hospitalization days, and 176 deaths. All, except Lyme disease, showed a trend of decreasing numbers of hospitalizations. Discussion and Conclusion: The impact of each zoonosis in hospitalized patients regarding their age, sex, the severity of disease, and region can be attributed to the specific characteristics of each disease, regarding means of infection, pathogenicity, and geographic distribution. Hospitalizations caused by zoonoses have declined since the beginning of the century in Portugal. They still represent, however, relevant impacts on Public Health. The promotion of trans professional cooperation guided by One Health principles will further aid in the control of these important diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalPortuguese Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022


  • Hospitalization
  • National Health Service
  • One Health
  • Retrospective study
  • Zoonoses


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