The appearance of novel pathogens of humans with epidemic potential and high mortality rates have threatened global health security for centuries. Over the past few decades new zoonotic infectious diseases of humans caused by pathogens arising from animal reservoirs have included West Nile virus, Yellow fever virus, Ebola virus, Nipah virus, Lassa Fever virus, Hanta virus, Dengue fever virus, Rift Valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, and Zika virus. The recent Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in West Africa and the ongoing Zika Virus outbreak in South America highlight the urgent need for local, regional and international public health systems to be be more coordinated and better prepared. The One Health concept focuses on the relationship and interconnectedness between Humans, Animals and the Environment, and recognizes that the health and wellbeing of humans is intimately connected to the health of animals and their environment (and vice versa). Critical to the establishment of a One Health platform is the creation of a multidisciplinary team with a range of expertise including public health officers, physicians, veterinarians, animal husbandry specialists, agriculturalists, ecologists, vector biologists, viral phylogeneticists, and researchers to co-operate, collaborate to learn more about zoonotic spread between animals, humans and the environment and to monitor, respond to and prevent major outbreaks. We discuss the unique opportunities for Middle Eastern and African stakeholders to take leadership in building equitable and effective partnerships with all stakeholders involved in human and health systems to take forward a ‘One Health’ approach to control such zoonotic pathogens with epidemic potential.
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© 2016 The Author(s)
- One Health