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  • Writer's pictureYusuf Tokdemir

Global Health at the Human-Animal-Interface

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

Today, we are living in the coronavirus pandemic conditions. COVID-19 is a novel zoonotic disease caused by a coronavirus. How this virus moved from animal to human populations is yet to be determined according to the WHO. The source of the zoonotic diseases are bacterial infections, vector-borne infections, parasite infections and viral infections.

In this context, "One Health" approach is really valuable and it was created by the WHO, FAO and OIE.

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach - working at local, regional, national, and global levels - to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment.

In other words, we can define the One Health as an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.

The contamination, pollution and climate change conditions affect the planetary environmental health. This may affect the human and animal health and lead to emergence of new infectious diseases.

Nearly 75 percent of all emerging human infectious diseases in the past three decades originated in animals (Zoonotic diseases), especially wildlife.

Sahara Karagöl Ecosystem Artvin

The principal drivers for the emergence of the zoonotic diseases are associated with human activities, including changes in ecosystems and land use, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, deforestation, intensification of agriculture, use of antibiotics and pesticides, urbanisation, destruction of the wild life and international travel and trade.

The world population is projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050. This creates an increasing pressure to provide adequate healthcare, food and water.

In this context, a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach is needed to ensure animal, human, and environmental health that covers environmental and ecosystem health, social sciences, ecology, wildlife, land use, and biodiversity.

There is a strong need to understand the ecology of each emerging zoonotic disease in order to undertake a risk assessment, and to develop plans for response and control.

Application of One Health concept will create value added impact on the prevention of the emerging and endemic zoonoses, and antimicrobial resistance, and achieving the food safety.

Keep ecosystem healthy today and tomorrow!


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