BRUSSELS, May 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
A new initiative has shown that potentially catastrophic diseases affecting humans can be avoided by addressing animal health and husbandry.
Animal Health Matters - a joint collaboration between the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and HealthforAnimals - demonstrates that impending health threats such as zoonotic disease and antimicrobial resistance cannot be addressed without closer collaboration between the human and animal health sectors.
"The treatment of Rabies in humans and animals is a great example to demonstrate the current disconnect in approaches. Rabies kills 60,000 people globally every year, and it is estimated that 60 per cent of all infectious diseases we face in our lives today originate in animals," explains Dr. René Carlson, President of the WVA. "The cost of human vaccination for Rabies, though, is markedly more expensive than animal vaccination, which demonstrates the importance of an animal-first approach and how this could dramatically reduce the risk, and cost, to humans."
Meeting global health objectives, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and World Health Organisation's 2020 roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases, will rely on disease control in animals, so the need for a more collaborative approach to disease management will be essential.
Dr. Carlson continues: "Other diseases like Tuberculosis or Avian Influenza, which devastate developing regions and can result in significant animal and economic losses, could be better contained if collaboration between animal and human health disciplines is improved. There are, though, encouraging signs to show that awareness within both professions, medical and veterinary, is growing and that collaboration is on the rise."
WVA and HealthforAnimals are encouraging this collaboration through a new website, Animal Health Matters. The resource educates and builds greater awareness of the most pressing issues in human and animal health, including zoonotic disease, antimicrobial resistance, global food security and the future role and health of companion animals.
"The launch of Animal Health Matters comes at a time when the need for collaboration has never been greater," explains Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Executive Director for HealthforAnimals. "Zoonotic and emerging diseases, such as Swine and Avian Influenza, are a very real threat yet one that the public generally has little knowledge of until crisis hits. The new website outlines the potential dangers, enormous costs and devastating impact of not working collaboratively and of the many opportunities presented by partnerships."
Animal Health Matters is a new website, jointly authored by HealthforAnimals and the World Veterinary Association, launched Wednesday 24 May 2017.