Saturday, May 7, 2016

Human and animal health: From Virchow and Osler to Influenza and Ebola

One Health can be traced to the 19th century pioneers Virchow and Osler, each of whom were extremely famous (medical) doctors, and each of whom recognized and was intensively involved with identifying links between animal and human health. Virchow is credited with coining the word “zoonosis”. In 1976 the veterinarian Schwabe coined the term “one medicine”, initiating a revival of interest into connections between infectious diseases, nutrition, and livelihoods involving animals and the human animal. Interest in this work, published at a time when infectious diseases in humans were thought to be in decline (at least in high income settings), was bolstered by the emergence of HIV/AIDS and the recognition and emergence of numerous other infections, albeit of less importance to human health (than HIV/AIDS).
In the last decade, as knowledge of and the extent of the environmental crisis has deepened, attempts have been made to broaden the scope of One Health to include dimensions of environmental change and even social medicine (an aspect for which Virchow was also a pioneer). However, such a scope may be too broad for most One Health practitioners.
This talk will position One Health in the wider framework of contemporary environmental public health, and will present several case studies showing linkages between human and animal health, and, to a lesser extent, between these aspects and environmental and economic change. These case studies will include trichinellosis, rinderpest, HIV/AIDS, ebola, influenza and hendra. Animal welfare will also be mentioned, as will be the risk that adverse global environmental and social change, if too long continued on its current trajectory could create a milieu for a catastrophic breakdown in public health.

Slides: here
Podcast (ABC radio): here 
Selected references
Cardiff R.D, Ward J.M.,Barthold S.W. ‘One medicine—one pathology’: are veterinary and human pathology prepared? Laboratory Investigation.2008;88:18-26.
Saunders L.Z. Virchow’s contributions to veterinary medicine: celebrated then, forgotten now. Veterinary Pathology. 2000;37:199–207.
Zinsstag J, Schelling E, Waltner-Toews D, Tanner M. From "one medicine" to "onehealth" and systemic approaches to health and well-being. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2011;101:148-56.

Colin Butler is professor of public health at the University of Canberra (since 2012) and is also a Visiting Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University. He graduated in medicine in 1987, from the University of Newcastle (NSW), and for several years worked as a rural general practitioner, in Tasmania. However, his main interest has long been health in “developing” countries, and he has slowly been able to contribute to efforts to improve global health. He is editor of Climate Change and Global Health (CABI, 2014, 2016), and senior editor of Health of People, Places and Planet. Reflections based on Tony McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding (ANU Press, 2015). Colin also edited a WHO Technical Report, relevant to One Health, called Research Priorities for the Environment, Agriculture and Infectious Diseases of Poverty (2013). In 1989 Colin also co-founded two health and development promoting NGOs, called BODHI and BODHI Australia. In 2009 the French Environmental Health Association named him as one of “a hundred doctors for the planet”. Colin was also an ARC Future Fellow from 2011-2015.