World Medical Association – Press Release – November 23, 2012

Closer Co-operation between Physicians and Veterinarians More Urgent Than Ever


Between physicians and veterinarians has never been more urgent because of the rise of antibiotic resistance and the fact that sixty per cent of the 1,500 human diseases are caused by pathogens affecting multiple animal species, says Dr. Cecil Wilson, President of the World Medical Association.
Writing on the WMA website today he says:
‘In the realm of medicine and public health, cooperation between these fields has never been more urgent. Of the nearly 1,500 diseases now recognized in humans 60 per cent are caused by pathogens that affect multiple animal species.
‘About three of every four newly emerging human infectious diseases originated in animals. This includes terrifying conditions such as Ebola, Lassa Fever and the Nipah, Hendra and Marburg viruses.'
Dr. Wilson adds that poor environmental health affects human and animal health in other ways, through pollution, contamination and conditions conducive to the emergence and survival of new infectious agents.
‘Given the rise of antibiotic resistance what is needed is a more holistic approach and a better understanding of resistance related to the use of antibiotic drugs to find these new contagions.'
Dr. Wilson says that recognising that human health, animal health and ecosystem health are inextricably linked, the WMA and the World Veterinary Association recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Cooperation between the two bodies would include joint educational efforts between human medical and veterinary medical schools, support for cross species disease surveillance and control efforts to prevent zoonotic diseases, collaboration in the responsible use of antimicrobials and enhanced collaboration in medical education, clinical care, public-health and biomedical research.