One interesting way of seeking to solve interconnected world epidemics has been through the One Health Concept. This concept is “increasingly integrating human medicine, animal health, and environmental science to prevent and treat… serious public health threats.”
The Defense Health Agency’s Public Health Division is using this concept, to target influenza. Influenza, as we know, is part of the Orthomyxoviridae family and is a negative sense, segmented virus. It has four flu virus types A-D, with A and B causing the largest proportion of human disease. Due to the segmented nature, the nature of RNA viruses, and other genetic variation techniques, the influenza virus is rapidly evolving – often enough to cause a pandemic.
Since birds are one of the more important reservoirs of influenza viruses, it brings up the importance of animal health and its impact on human health. One strategy that was implemented was the “stamping out” strategy. This in turn could lead to infection of the humans leading the elimination of the disease. Further, it also causes financial challenges through overall cost-effective analysis. One example of that was the $4000 million lost to the economy due to the “swine flu” epidemic.
The best way to help propagate the One Health concept, which has been endorsed by more than 850 prominent scientists, is through yearly immunization. One interesting point was that of Skerrett, “If you get immunized while you’re pregnant, you will transfer some protection to your unborn child. And, getting immunized protects those around you who cannot receive the vaccine.”
Gianna Nino-Tapias ('18)
Orose C. One Health concept highlights collaboration as key to preventing and fighting disease. Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Branch. 24 January 2017.