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Optimization of human, animal, and environmental health by using the One Health approach

September 1, 2017

Emerging diseases are increasing burdens on public health, negatively affecting the world economy, causing extinction of species, and disrupting ecological integrity. One Health recognizes that human, domestic animal, and wildlife health are interconnected within ecosystem health and provides a framework for the development of multidisciplinary solutions to global health challenges. To date, most health-promoting interventions have focused largely on single-sector outcomes. For example, risk for transmission of zoonotic pathogens from bush-meat hunting is primarily focused on human hygiene and personal protection. However, bush-meat hunting is a complex issue promoting the need for holistic strategies to reduce transmission of zoonotic disease while addressing food security and wildlife conservation issues. Temporal and spatial separation of humans and wildlife, risk communication, and other preventative strategies should allow wildlife and humans to co-exist. Upstream surveillance, vaccination, and other tools to prevent pathogen spillover are also needed. Clear multi-sector outcomes should be defined, and a systems-based approach is needed to develop interventions that reduce risks and balance the needs of humans, wildlife, and the environment. The ultimate goal is long-term action to reduce forces driving emerging diseases and provide interdisciplinary scientific approaches to management of risks, thereby achieving optimal outcomes for human, animal, and environmental health.