In recent times, there has been an increased focus on animal health and zoonotic diseases that have the potential to trigger epidemics or pandemics that disproportionately affect the poor and most vulnerable. The recent Ebola, Zika and COVID-19 outbreaks demonstrate the devastating human, social and economic impacts of such diseases if they are not prevented or controlled, ideally at source. The risk drivers for zoonoses, which are complex and often interdependent, include climate change and related disasters, antimicrobial resistance, and anthropogenic drivers such as land-use changes and animal production practices. Understanding these drivers requires a better understanding of the ecology of zoonotic diseases at the human-animal-environment interface. Biosecurity and biosafety are critical for reducing the risk of accidental or deliberate release and should be included in risk management strategies. International frameworks for sustainable development, climate change, and disaster risk reduction have all integrated health as one of the core areas of work, calling for better preparedness and response to biological hazards and increased health system resilience. To improve their ability to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emerging and re-emerging threats, countries should address these risk drivers, taking a multidisciplinary One Health approach that involves the animal and human health and environment sectors. Cross-border cooperation is also vital, as diseases know no boundaries.
- Business of Medicine
- Doctor’s Voice