One Health: Humans, Animals, and the Environment

3/4/2013 12:00 AM

The health of humans, animals, and the environment are inextricably interconnected. Disruption of the environment often creates new niches for the evolution of infectious diseases, and provides opportunities for the transmission of pathogens to animals or humans. The majority of infectious diseases that affect humans are acquired from animals. The ease and speed of travel makes it possible for a new human disease acquired from the environment or animals in one part of the world to rapidly spread to the rest of the world. Animals also often acquire infectious diseases from humans. Thus, human health depends upon health of animals and the environment. However, the fields of human and veterinary medicine and environmental sciences often fail to recognize this linkage. Participants Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University Medical Center, Ronald Atlas, professor of biology, University of Louisville, and  Nikos Gurfield, County Veterinarian at County of San Diego discuss the impact of this One Health concept on the future of human and veterinary medicine and environmental policy.