One Health and Parasites

One Health and Parasites

Said Sajjad Ali Shah (Veterinary Research Institute, Pakistan) and Adnan Khan (Wildlife Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6304-4.ch004
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One health is a collective term used to address human and animal health issues under one platform. More than half of the diseases of humans are directly or indirectly related to animal health and spread from animals to humans or vice versa. Etiological agents of zoonotic diseases may be bacterial, viral, or parasitic in origin. Among them, parasitic agents are very important because they are either directly involved as etiological agents or as vectors of other pathogenic organisms. Parasitic zoonoses are transmitted to humans through vectors, food, or drinking water, and thus categorized as vector borne, food borne, and water borne parasitic zoonoses. Food borne and water borne parasitic zoonoses include all those parasitic diseases which are transmitted to humans by consuming contaminated food and water. An extensive alliance is necessary amongst physicians, veterinarians, and public health workers for timely response and approach to guarantee the prevention and management of infections.
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There are 1,415 infectious agents and 868 (61%) could be transmitted between animals and humans (Taylor et al, 2001). It has also been found that zoonotic diseases were twice as likely to be associated with emerging or newly discovered infections than nonzoonotic pathogens and that viruses and protozoa (parasites) were the zoonotic pathogens most likely to emerge (Cleaveland et al, 2001). As an academic discipline, comparative medicine or one-health is not a new concept; the first chair in it was established in 1862 in France. The field has an illustrious history. In 1893, Theobald Smith, a physician, and F.L. Kilbourne, a veterinarian, published a paper establishing that an infectious agent, Babesia bigemina, the cause of cattle fever, was transmitted by an arthropod vector. Their seminal work helped set the stage for Walter Reed's discovery of yellow fever transmission (Wilkinson, 1992). Another physician-veterinarian team, Drs. Rolf Zinkernagel and Peter C. Doherty, won the 1996 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery of how the immune system distinguishes normal cells from virus-infected cells (Zinkerngel et al, 1974). This illustrate that medicine and veterinary medicine are complementary; they are synergistic in generating new scientific insights across species. In essence, the 2 disciplines epitomize the philosophy of one health.

The combined efforts of several fields are required to devise innovative disease control and prevention strategies as most of the diseases occur inter-species. Much understanding and closer working relationship is required between veterinarians, physicians, and public health professionals for improvements in individual health, population health, and comparative medicine research. The collaborative research between physicians and veterinarians, under the umbrella of one health concept, would improve our understanding of zoonotic agent-host interactions.

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