Submitted to One Health Initiative website July 19, 2013 by Professor Anna Meredith, MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS, Chair, Zoological and Conservation Medicine Head of Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh Hospital for Small Animals, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin Midlothia EH25 9RT  Posted July 31, 2013   The University of Edinburgh (UK) and Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (India) -- “…various aspects of teaching and research in One Health, particularly in wildlife health, livestock health and animal welfare…”    The University of Edinburgh has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU), in which both institutions have made a commitment to collaborate on various aspects of teaching and research in One Health, particularly in wildlife health, livestock health and animal welfare.  During a recent visit (July 14th to 19th 2013) to KVASU in south west India I endeavoured to teach students there about the One Health concept and Conservation Medicine. The two Universities have also recently submitted an ambitious joint funding bid to the British Council’s UKIERI fund (UK-India Educational Research Initiative) for a collaborative project in One Health to be carried out in Kerala, entitled “A multidisciplinary One Health approach for predicting disease emergence in Wayanad district of Kerala, India”, focusing on surveillance of diseases found in the local livestock, wildlife and humans in Kerala. I am hopeful that this bid will be successful as the University of Edinburgh is committed to working with KVASU to raise awareness of the One Health concept in India. Obviously, veterinarians, physicians and public health officials in India will greatly benefit from increased understanding of and research into the complex relationships between animal, human and ecosystem health. A recent case of Lyme disease in a Kerala woman, a disease transmitted from wild deer ticks and a wild rodent reservoir, and ongoing human cases in the area of Kyasannur Forest Disease (KFD), a virus transmitted from wild monkeys, have highlighted the need for increased understanding and surveillance of the disease risks at the interface of wildlife, livestock and humans in this area of India. Kerala is particularly rich in biodiversity, but is facing rising threats due to habitat destruction and an increasing human/wildlife interface. I taught a four day intensive module—the first of its kind in India—on One Health and Conservation Medicine principles, to a group of KVASU Masters degree students in Wildlife Studies, and also Masters degree veterinary students in Public Health and Parasitology. Using a combination of seminars and interactive sessions, I focused on the risk of emerging infectious disease in endangered wildlife populations and the risk to livestock and human health, but also on ecosystem health and biodiversity. We now understand that loss of biodiversity invariably leads to an increased risk of emerging infectious disease.  Therefore it is vital that we promote a greater understanding of the importance of ecosystem health in a holistic way, because animal and human health ultimately depends on a healthy ecosystem. These Indian students are used to a rigid, formal style of teaching which doesn’t tend to encourage interaction, or problem-based learning, and although they were rather shy at first, they soon embraced the more informal learning style and we had some very lively discussions. Importantly, I also learnt a lot from them about the complex local issues in the area, and these exchanges are vital in fostering understanding, respect and trust between our two organisations. As part of the Memorandum of Understanding the University of Edinburgh will be hosting the KVASU students and staff when they visit Edinburgh University and the Zoological Society of London in the UK later this year. While at KVASU, I performed the inaugural ceremony to open a new Molecular Wildlife Forensic and Disease Laboratory at KVASU which will be a key resource in disease surveillance and wildlife crime in the region.  In addition I met with Dr. Naveen Pandey [BVSc & AH, CCAW(TANUVAS), LCBC(BNHS), MBA], Veterinary Consultant from India’s Corbett Foundation who travelled to Kerala to participate in the course and learn about One Health.  We made plans for future strategy and collaboration for working with wildlife and livestock health around Indian National Parks in Corbett, Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Kaziranga and the grasslands of Kutch. The Corbett Foundation works for wildlife, ecology, conservation, human livelihood and animal health and is already jointly organising a workshop on rural ‘Farm Animal Care’ later this year with Prof Neil Sargison, BVMS, PhD, DSHP,FRCVS, Professor of Farm Animal Practice  and Head of Farm Animal Section, one of my colleagues from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies  in Edinburgh. This is a really exciting time for promotion and development of the One Heath concept in India and I am delighted that Edinburgh University is playing a key role in assisting our Indian colleagues in this mutual endeavour. Footnote: During Dr. Meredith’s visit to India, she was interviewed by The Hindu newspaper