One Health Concept And Its Global Importance

The One Health concept recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. CDC uses a One Health approach by working with physicians, veterinarians, ecologists, and many others to monitor and control public health threats and to learn about how diseases spread among people, animals, and the environment.

By Dr. Muhammad Ali Tahir, Dr. Muhammad Akram, Dr. Ali Hussain and Dr. Muhammad Amer Sohail

Definition

One Health is defined as a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — to achieve optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

Many examples show how the health of people is related to the health of animals and the environment. For instance, some diseases can be shared between animals and people. These diseases are known as zoonotic diseases.

Examples include:

  • Rabies
  • Salmonella infection
  • West Nile virus fever
  • Q Fever
  • Brucellosis
  • Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

Animals also share our susceptibility to some diseases and environmental hazards. Because of this, they can serve as early warning signs of potential human illness. For example, birds often die of the West Nile virus before people get sick with West Nile virus fever.

One Health is not a new concept, but it has become more important in recent years. This is because many factors have changed interactions between people, animals, and our environment. These changes have led to the emergence and reemergence of many diseases.

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Successful public health interventions require the cooperation of human, animal, and environmental health communities. By promoting this collaboration, CDC achieves optimal health outcomes for both people and animals.

One Health Involves Everyone

          Experts and the community can work together to support One Health.

A-One Health approach to public health involves many experts working together to improve the health of people, animals — including pets, livestock, and wildlife — and the environment. Common types of professionals involved in One Health work include disease detectives, laboratorians, human healthcare providers, veterinarians, physicians, nurses, scientists, ecologists, and policymakers. However, One Health issues can affect everyone, from pet owners, travelers, and farmers to anyone who buys and eats food or drinks or swims in water.

Partnerships and communication between experts in animal, human, and environmental health are an essential part of the One Health approach. A One Health approach can also include other partners and organizations working on shared health threats. Working together allows us to have the biggest impact on improving health for both people and animals. CDC has partners in the United States and around the world, all working together to keep people healthy and educated about One Health. From researching sick sea otters in California to developing an app for farmers to track illness in animal herds, much of the One Health work being done around the world is dependent on agencies and organizations supporting each other and sharing resources and knowledge. All of this work can help to predict, prevent, and control zoonotic disease outbreaks that threaten human and animal health, and can address other threats that affect humans, animals, and our shared environment.

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How You Can Help

November 3 is One Health Day! This is a day to celebrate and bring attention to the One Health concept. Education and awareness events are held all around the world and provide people a chance to see One Health in action. One Health Day brings people together in support of achieving the best health for all people, animals, and the environment!

You can be a One Health hero by taking steps to prevent diseases spread between animals and people.

  • Practice healthy pet habits.
  • In the United States, pets and other animals such as backyard poultry are often the sources of disease outbreaks in people. To stay healthy, take steps to make sure your pet stays healthy, and practice good hygiene around your pets.
  • Keep wildlife wild.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance to reduce the risk of illness and injury to you, your pets, and wild animals.
  • Professionals in many fields, especially human health care, veterinary medicine, public health, animal health, and environmental health, can use a One Health approach.
  • Professionals should recognize the connection between human health, animal health, and the environment, and work together to achieve the best health for all.

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What can you do to protect yourself and your family from zoonotic diseases?

People can come into contact with animals in many places. This includes at home and away from home, in places like petting zoos, fairs, schools, stores, and parks. Insects, like mosquitoes and fleas, and ticks bite people and animals’ day and night. Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from zoonotic diseases. Keep your hands clean. Washing your hands right after being around animals, even if you didn’t touch any animals, is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

  1. Always wash your hands after being around animals, even if you didn’t touch the animals.
  2. Many germs are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.
  3. If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water.
  4. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands. Because hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, it is important to wash your hands as soon as soap and water are available.
  5. Know the simple things you can do to stay safe around your pets.
  6. Prevent bites from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.
  7. Learn more about ways to handle food safely—whether it’s for yourself or your family, your pet, or other animals.
  8. Be aware of zoonotic diseases both at home, away from home (such as at petting zoos or other animal exhibits), in child care settings or schools, and when you travel.
  9. Avoid bites and scratches from animals.

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