Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More on the "One World, One Health" Movement

The Herald Tribue (Sarasota Florida) had a good article today about the "One World, One Health" concept. The concept for "One World, One Health" has been around for a while, but with the recent focus on it at the Sharm El Sheikh conference we may be seeing a renewed interest and commitment to concept by major institutional players and donors.

Guest columnist Bruce Kaplan describes the movement:

"The "One Health Initiative" is a movement to forge co-equal, all inclusive communications and collaborations between physicians, veterinarians and other scientific-health related disciplines. This has been limited or absent for much of the 20th century.

When properly implemented, the sharing of scientific information will help protect and save millions of lives in present and future generations. The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary interactions in all aspects of health care for humans and animals. The synergism achieved will accelerate biomedical research, enhance public health efficacy, expand the scientific knowledge base, and improve medical education and clinical care."

Though we often hear about the lack of collaboration, Kaplan gives three examples of success:

"1. A physician and veterinarian research team in 1893, Drs. Theobald Smith and F.L. Kilbourne, discovered the cause of cattle fever, Babesia bigemina, and that it was being transmitted by ticks. This work helped set the stage for the discovery by Walter Reed and his colleagues of the transmission of yellow fever in humans.

2. The Ebola virus was identified as the cause of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the 1970s through the collaboration of veterinarian Fred Murphy and physician Karl Johnson. These two made history by working closely together at the CDC on this and other topics. Hemorrhagic fever viruses are now designated by CDC as bioterrorism agents.

3. Rolf Zinkernagel (physician) and Peter Doherty (veterinarian) working together as immunologists, discovered how the immune system tells normal cells from virus-infected cells. For this, they received the 1996 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine."

While all of these examples are biomedical, CARE is working to focus efforts collaboration between human and animal health sectors in the community. It would be great to look at the work of outbreak response and prevention for successful collaboration.

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