“...[more] convincing evidence for the necessity of a One Health approach to infectious disease…”


A Comprehensive Review of Emerging Zoonoses Conference

September 7, 2012  - Press Release:


            The unity of veterinary medicine, human medicine and environmental awareness has been stressed in a Special Supplement of the September issue of Zoonoses and Public Health, published with free web access on September 7th, 2012. Featuring 11 original articles and 5 review articles, with an extensive Meeting Review of nearly 40 presentations, these Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Emerging Zoonoses held in Cancun, Mexico, from February 24th to 27th, 2011 offer convincing evidence for the necessity of a One Health approach to infectious disease.


          Ten topics have been covered in considerable detail: (1) The ecology of emerging zoonotic diseases; (2) The role of wildlife in emerging zoonoses; (3) Cross-species transmission of zoonotic pathogens; (4) Emerging and neglected influenza viruses; (5) Haemorrhagic fever viruses; (6) Emerging bacterial diseases; (7) Outbreak responses to zoonotic diseases; (8) Food-borne zoonotic diseases; (9) Prion diseases; and (10) Modelling and prediction of emergence of zoonoses. Although there is considerable material on new laboratory research, systems biology and modelling, the Meeting Review contains introductory material on all ten topics, enabling both those new to One Health and those already convinced of the importance of One Health to reflect further on how to confront newly emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases. Thus both students and their supervisors should be able to benefit from reading portions of the proceedings.


          The Conference organizers, Professor Juergen Richt of Kansas State University and Professor Heinz Feldmann of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health have written an Introduction, “Changing Realities in Emerging Zoonoses,” which begins: “In the three years since this International Conference on Emerging Zoonoses was last held, there have been significant changes in both the spread of numerous zoonoses and the manner in which zoonoses, both new and old, are perceived by scientists, governments and the public. Although the term ‘foreign animal/human diseases’ is still widely used, there is near unanimous awareness that such diseases are transboundary diseases, in which an outbreak in any country can spread rapidly throughout the world. Therefore, the recent outbreaks of Hendra virus in Australia and Nipah virus in Bangladesh constitute significant disease threats not only in those countries but in any country. Furthermore, the sporadic occurrences of the highly lethal H5N1 influenza virus and the existence of more transmissible human and animal influenza viruses of different subtypes threaten both animals and people with the dangers of new reassortants. The danger of such an unwanted event has not lessened, whatever the amount of publicity about influenza.”


          The Meeting Review, authored by Robert E. Kahn, Igor Morozov, Professor Juergen A. Richt (all of Kansas State University) and Professor Heinz Feldmann sets out a pattern of scientific discovery in which the continuum of basic research leads first to understanding a disease, then to managing that disease and finally to preventing it. The fourfold classification of emerging zoonoses proposed earlier by Silvio Pitlik, Chairman of the Medicine Department of the Medicine Department of the Rabin Medical Center in Israel, was affirmed, withType 1 being from wild animals to humans (Hanta); Type 1+: from wild animals to humans, with further human-to-human transmission (AIDS); Type 2: from wild animals to domestic animals to humans (Avian flu); and Type 2+: from wild animals to domestic animals to humans, with further human-to-human transmission (SARS). Confronting outbreaks of these emerging zoonoses is possible with an imaginative combination of laboratory investigation and extensive fieldwork, as was done with the first pandemic of the 21st century, SARS.


Randall L. Levings set out the integrated approach of the Emergency Management and Diagnostics, Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture in the prevention of, the preparedness for, the response to and the recovery from a zoonotic disease outbreak. With respect to basic research, practical action and an integrated One Health-oriented approach, he pointed out how much had been achieved in recent years, but how much also remains to be achieved as soon as possible. In his view, even greater emphasis was necessary on the One Health approach in order to integrate communication, collaboration and coordination between public health, animal health and other communities at multiple levels to prevent, detect and control emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases at the animal–human–environment interface.


          The warning given by Dr. Nathan Wolfe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Metabiota, and Executive Chairman of Global Viral, in his book, The Viral Storm: A Dawn of a New Pandemic Age, was noted: “As a species, we’re not that focused on the things that have the most potential to be devastating to us as a global population, such as viruses. Unless people take these things seriously, we’re going to look back and say we had all the tools necessary to try to address these risks, and we basically ignored them because they weren’t dramatic like a car accident or a hurricane.”


            Free access to all of this material is available at: or through the website of the journal, Zoonoses and Public Health, for Volume 59, Special Supplement 2 at: .  Also see Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases:

Provided to One Health Initiative website September 5, 2012 by: Robert E. Kahn, PhD, Educational Consultant, Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas