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Six new papers on the ancient, complex and everlasting farm animal–zoonotic disease–human well-being nexus

A Maasai man takes his goats out in the early morning for a day’s grazing in northern Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

This new publications notice is made by Delia Grace, joint program leader for the Animal and Human Health program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and flagship leader in the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH).

Six new high-level publications by scientists and partners of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) on zoonoses, livestock and well-being.

Happy reading!






About the special issue
By Andrew Cunningham, Ian Scoones and James Wood

From the abstract to the introduction
One Health for a changing world: new perspectives from Africa

‘The concept of One Health, which aims to drive improvements in human, animal and ecological health through an holistic approach, has been gaining increasing support and attention in recent years. While this concept has much appeal, there are few examples where it has been successfully put into practice.

‘This Special Issue explores the challenges in African contexts, with papers looking at the complex interactions between ecosystems, diseases and poverty dynamics; at underlying social and political dimensions; at the potentials for integrative modelling; and at the changes in policy and practice required to realise a One Health approach. This introductory paper offers an overview of the 11 papers, coming from diverse disciplinary perspectives, that each explore how a One Health approach can work in a world of social, economic and environmental change.’

From the introduction (references removed)
‘Over the past 25 years, a succession of disease outbreaks has threatened global public health, animal health and biodiversity conservation. From Nipah to SARS to avian and swine flu, and from Ebola to Zika and MERS, diseases of animal origin have caused alarm, both locally and in relation to their global threats. These episodes have shone a spotlight on human–animal interactions, and how they affect the potential for novel disease emergence [1] and spread. The vast majority of newly emerging human infectious diseases originate in animals, with the rate of novel disease emergence accelerating. Meanwhile, the majority of previously unknown diseases affecting wildlife have emerged consequent to human activities. Increasingly, questions are being raised about the underlying environmental and socio-economic processes of disease emergence—including globalization, climate change, land use change and urbanization.

‘Despite their prominence, the impacts of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are overshadowed by the massive burdens of endemic zoonoses, which tend to be neglected compared with EIDs. Trypanosomiasis, leptospirosis and brucellosis, for example, undermine the well-being of millions of people, yet do not get the attention of those diseases associated with potential global outbreaks. The burdens of such neglected zoonotic diseases are concentrated in poorer parts of the world, where health and veterinary services are inadequate, and the toll of such diseases is undiagnosed and hidden from view.

‘The intersections of human, animal and ecosystem health lie at the heart of these public and policy concerns, yet these interactions are poorly understood and little researched. As a result, concerns and responses to them are too often driven by conjecture or faulty assumptions, or by generalizations that fail to fit real-world contexts. This Special Issue helps to redress this situation. The papers in this Special Issue have a particular emphasis on the impacts of zoonotic disease on human poverty and well-being. Many address the way that disciplinary specialisms, sectoral mandates, divided policy efforts and compartmentalized funding flows have limited, particularly in the developing world, attention on why zoonotic diseases emerge, how they affect different groups of people and the identification of appropriate responses. . . .’

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