Launch of a health education and public engagement project for the prevention of zoonoses


The "Carefree with our pets" project, funded by MUR and the European Union under the Next Generation EU within the PRIN PNRR 2022 initiative, is launching these days. It involves the Veterinary Parasitology units of the Universities of Sassari and Messina working together to prevent the spread of potentially transmissible parasitic zoonoses from pets. This is an edutainment project, combining educational and entertaining elements, aimed at both educating and entertaining, involving primary schools in urban and rural environments on the two major islands. Researchers will undertake the challenging mission of translating the potential dangers of living with pets into simple words and concepts.

Thanks to collaboration with the Veterinary Teaching Hospitals of the Departments of Veterinary Medicine at the Universities of Sassari and Messina, all participating students will have the opportunity for a free visit for their pets.

A study will be conducted on fecal and parasitic contamination in urban parks and public areas to assess zoonotic risk. Previous studies have revealed that the cities of Sassari and Messina are among the most contaminated by parasites eliminated through feces, spread due to the bad habit of some owners not picking up their pets' waste.

An awareness campaign will be conducted, aiming to involve local administrations and explain to both adults and children the potential risks of coming into contact with zoonotic agents and the correct approach to managing our four-legged friends.

The results of "Carefree with our pets" will be used to provide proposals that can enhance zoonosis health education programs, in line with the emerging strategic theme of PRIN "Human Well-being," supporting the World Health Organization's 2030 agenda and the guidelines of the Italian PNRR with a "One Health" approach. The project will work on animals, humans, and the environmental context to prevent zoonoses and promote the concept of holistic health.