This blog post may be a bit tangential to the usual viral chatter, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about and very applicable to zoonoses, so bear with me.
I recently came across a Ted Talk by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a cardiologist at UCLA. (Here’s a link in case you are curious: http://www.ted.com/speakers/barbara_natterson_horowitz). She talked about conferences she organizes based on “Zoobiquity,” and her efforts to bridge the gap between veterinarians and physicians. She thinks that there are important crossovers between humans and animals that go beyond infectious disease.
It turns out that the CDC has a somewhat different version of this idea called “One Health,” which is dedicated to looking at how the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. (Here’s their homepage: http://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/). Although the similarities between veterinary and human disease have been known for a long time, (think of all those animal models that are being used to understand human disease!) the CDC created the One Health approach in 2007 in response to the risk of infectious disease. It’s impressive to see that the interrelatedness of human and animal health is recognized at this organizational level.
It also turns out that there’s also a journal called EcoHealth that looks at the crossover between ecology and health. So in summary, there are lots of folks involved in thinking about the issue of zoonoses, and it’s interesting to see that organizations like the CDC have really responded.