A recently published large scale review identified major gaps in global animal and zoonotic disease control. The review was conducted by a team of human and animal health experts, from across the world, identified gaps in diagnosis, disease prevention, vaccination and treatment of 53 important zoonotic diseases, and published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
The researchers hope their findings can help shape the future of animal health research, they identified five research priorities for health security: vaccinology, antimicrobial resistance, climate mitigation and adaptation, digital health, and epidemic preparedness.
Maintaining animal health is not only crucial for preventing zoonotic disease spread, but also the creation of robust food systems to feed a rapidly growing global population.
Focus on zoonosis – preventing spread by rapid diagnosis
While the review examines 53 notable zoonotic diseases, researchers suggest that efforts to diagnose and combat need to be prioritised for Nipah virus infection, African swine fever, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, peste des petits ruminants, sheeppox and goatpox, avian influenza, Rift Valley fever, foot and mouth disease, and bovine tuberculosis.
The team behind the review acknowledged these 10 animal diseases have the greatest potential to impact on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and cause the most widespread economic and health impacts.
The researchers emphasised the need for rapid point-of-care testing and diagnostic tools of zoonotic and infectious animal diseases, as the movement of animals has great impact on disease spread across large distances.
Animal disease and food security
Cumulative pressures on resources, climate change and growing populations are the main drivers of increasing vulnerability to food systems.
Animal health is central to strong and secure food systems, but as global pressures mount spill-over of endemic zoonotic disease and increasing antimicrobial resistance are threatening the food security and health of millions worldwide.
The researchers focussed on numerous animal diseases which have a significant impact on food production, not limited to purely livestock diseases, but pathogens which can cause harm through food borne illness.
The team relied extensively on the DISCONTOOLS database of animal disease, which is an initiative supported by the STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium on Animal Health.
The review is a large-scale synthesis of animal health evidence-based research primarily from the DISCONTOOLS database, content of the database is curated by 408 experts from academia, national bodies and industry, each contributed research, policy and practice information or disease data.
When searching on CABI Global Health around the subject of Onehealth and animal health impacting on human health, there are almost 80,000 records using the search string: ((zoono* or "onehealth" OR "one health") OR ((CC:"VV210 ) AND (ANIMAL))) AND ("food security" OR "food system*")
Charlier, J., Barkema, H., Becher, P., De Benedictis, P., Hansson, I., Hennig-Pauka, I., La Ragione, R., Larsen, L., Madoroba, E., Maes, D., Marín, C., Mutinelli, F., Nisbet, A., Podgórska, K., Vercruysse, J., Vitale, F., Williams, D. and Zadoks, R., 2022. Disease control tools to secure animal and public health in a densely populated world. The Lancet Planetary Health, 6(10), pp.e812-e824. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00147-4