In April 2010, Miyazaki prefecture in Southwest Japan experienced an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, one of the most contagious animal diseases. Although the outbreak was successfully contained in just four months, by July 2010 there were 292 cases and 300,000 cows and pigs had been slaughtered. This resulted in an economic loss of about 2 billion US dollars.
In addition to the economic impact of the epidemic, the mental and psychosocial well-being of individuals and the community at large was also affected. For example, the sudden death of large numbers of animals caused considerable mental stress among farmers as well as the veterinarians and municipal government teams involved in the slaughter and disposal of infected cattle and pigs.
Restrictions on movement were imposed as part of efforts to prevent the disease from spreading; this led to stress-related symptoms among some residents, particularly the elderly. In addition, many farmers experienced depression and anxiety about the future following the loss of their livelihoods.
Recognizing the multiple impacts of the disease epidemic, a coordinated multisectoral approach was adopted, under the One Health concept, to tackle the disease as well as manage the mental health and psychological well-being of the residents of Miyazaki.
In a video titled Responding to an animal disease epidemic: Lessons from Miyazaki, various stakeholders who were involved in responding to the epidemic reflect on the usefulness of a One Health approach in helping to successfully respond to and overcome the challenges of the disease outbreak.
Featured in the video is Kohei Makita, an associate professor of veterinary epidemiology at Rakuno Gakuen University who is on a joint appointment at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Makita and colleagues had earlier published work on the collaborative response of veterinary and psychiatry experts to the 2010 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
The video was produced by the World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center, the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, the National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry, Japan and Rakuno Gakuen University.