Network for Evaluation of One Health

Journal article: Biological threats from a ‘One Health’ perspective


Feb 18


Journal article: Biological threats from a ‘One Health’ perspective

J. Zinsstag (1, 2)*, L. Crump (1, 2) & M.S. Winkler (1, 2)

Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz., 2017, 36 (2), 671-680


A recent article by WG1 leader Jakob Zinsstag


Biological threats are a prime example of an issue that needs the ‘One Health’

approach. Such an approach would facilitate the prevention and mitigation of these

threats. ‘One Health’ is defined as any added value in terms of the health of humans

and animals, financial savings or environmental services achievable through the

cooperation of human and veterinary medicines when compared to the two disciplines

working separately. This principle also applies to the involvement of other disciplines

from the natural sciences and humanities. This paper is not an exhaustive survey

of integrated approaches but discusses concepts and methods and provides key

examples of the benefits of a ‘One Health’ approach when applied to biological threats.

Zoonoses and vector-borne diseases (i.e. diseases transmitted between animals and

humans and by insect or acarian vectors) remain central biological threats in highly

dynamic social and environmental conditions. Such diseases are not always directly

transmitted. Contaminated food, water, air and soil represent important sources of

transmission for foodborne and environmentally related diseases. Therefore, this

paper treats environmental sanitation separately because of the importance of the

excreta management of humans and animals. Integrated syndromic surveillance

and antimicrobial resistance surveillance link the above aspects and are showcases

for a ‘One Health’ approach to biological threat reduction. Biological threats are not

only related to natural conditions but may also be exacerbated by large development

projects such as dams, mining and infrastructure. Consequently, it is recommended

that the health impact assessment (HIA) approach be implemented as early as the

planning stage of any large infrastructure project located in a complex socioecological

system. This paper extends the HIA approach to an integrated ‘One Health’ impact

assessment approach.

Read the article here