Integrated approaches such as One Health and Ecohealth are needed for sustainable and cost-effective control of neglected zoonotic diseases which impose significant multiple burdens on the poor.
This was one of the key messages given by Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), as she closed her presentation on Zoonoses: The Lethal Gifts of Livestock delivered at a Livestock live seminar held on 31 October 2012 at the ILRI Nairobi campus.
Livestock live is a new seminar series at ILRI that aims to address livestock-related issues, mobilize external as well as in-house expertise and audiences and engage the livestock community around interdisciplinary conversations that ask hard questions and seek to refine current research concepts and practices.
Zoonotic diseases (often referred to as zoonoses) are diseases that can be transmitted between animals and people. About 60% of human diseases are shared with animals and 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic.
The talk highlighted some of the key findings of a recently published study by ILRI that carried out a systematic literature review and mapped poverty and zoonoses hotspots.
The aim of the study was to provide data and research evidence to inform prioritization of study areas on the transmission of disease in emerging livestock systems in the developing world, where the burdens of zoonotic disease are greatest.
The talk also highlighted the new CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health which is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The research program has four components, one of which — agriculture-associated diseases — is led by ILRI.
These research initiatives are forward-looking and move beyond mapping of diseases to managing them.
“Agricultural research has an important role in integrative approaches to improve human health, animal health and agro-ecosystems,” Grace concluded.