Links between human and animal health gain new attention    Guest Column in thé Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Florida (USA), December 22, 2009   By BRUCE KAPLAN, D.V.M. Guest Columnist Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. Last Modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 at 8:35 p.m. On Dec. 2, 2008, the Herald-Tribune published a guest column titled In age of pandemics, human and animal health intersect describing the preceding two years of progress of the One Health Initiative, a movement to accelerate and enhance health and health care research for humans and animals, greatly increase public-health efficacy, expand the scientific knowledge base and improve patient clinical health care on a national and global scale. <!-- AC = -->At that time, few in the medical communities and general population were aware of this dynamic process and its great potential. While improved, this knowledge gap still prevails. Physicians, veterinarians and other health science leaders of the One Health movement knew then that implementation will result in life-protecting and life-saving advances for health and health care worldwide. Numerous examples are documented. While the concept was promoted by visionary scientific professionals during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, it was not until the early 21st century that its time had come to be recognized in crucial terms. Approximately 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases affecting humans are transmissible from animals to humans (zoonos-es), i.e. of animal origin. Some pose bioterrorism threats. About 60 percent of all human pathogens are zoonotic and have become of sufficient concern as to force federal and state government public-health officials to take notice. Examples include avian influenza viruses, AIDS, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), West Nile virus and many others. These signal the urgent need for human and veterinary medicine to renew and increase collaborative research efforts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with the American Medical Association, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, American Veterinary Medical Association and many others around the world recognize the dire need for instituting One Health principles. This means forging co-equal, inclusive communications and scientific collaborations among physicians, veterinarians and all scientific health-related disciplines. A One Health Commission has been established to help implement the concept and raise awareness of the importance of transcending institutional and disciplinary boundaries to improve health outcomes for all species. Moreover, the National Academy of Sciences Board on Global Health of the Institute of Medicine and the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the National Research Council recently announced their intention to conduct a study of One Health in early 2010, pending adequate funding ( The Florida Department of Healths Environmental Health Division has become a significant national leader in the One Health movement by establishing a widely read One Health Newsletter Web site (http://www.doh.state. Public health and clinical medicine/surgery experts in the U.S. and worldwide have been attracted to submit One Health articles. The newsletters editorial board works in tandem with the One Health Initiative Web site, managed by a team of two physicians, a veterinarian and a Ph.D virologist-scientist ( This Web site endeavors to provide pertinent global One Health news, publications and upcoming events items. The director of the Florida Department of Healths Environmental Health Division, Dr. Lisa Conti, a noted public health veterinarian, and physician Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, a prominent Yale Medical School public-health authority, have co-authored Human-Animal Medicine -- Clinical Approaches to Zoonoses, Toxicants and Other Shared Health Risks, a groundbreaking One Health book for use by practitioners of medicine and veterinary medicine. The book is expected to published in mid-December. Among other worldwide One Health activities, the first International One Health Congress meeting is being planned for Feb. 14-16, 2011, in Melbourne, Australia. Many aspects of human and animal health, the environment and global survival will be discussed by eminent international health scientists. Hopefully, the time has come for a life-protecting, life-saving strategy that has been largely missing from the scene, yet promoted by visionary public-health leaders for centuries. Dr. Bruce Kaplan is a Sarasota veterinarian and primary content manager of the One Health Initiative Web site. This story appeared in print on page A8 All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.  Permission to reprint on One Health Initiative website granted December 22, 2009 by Thomas L. Tryon, Editor, Opinion Page Sarasota Herald-Tribune.