Adopt a One Health approach to animal diseases

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Adopt a One Health approach to animal diseases

July 26, 2021

Australia’s cattle herd contributes more than $ 12 billion to our economy per year. Sheep contribute more than $ 6 billion.

However, endemic and emerging diseases pose a significant threat to the health and production of these animals and many others. As a major part of our economic system, we need to examine how this affects our economy at large, the environment and human health, according to Murdoch University.

Dr Mieghan Bruce is one of the many researchers leading the Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) program, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the World Organization for Animal Health, seeking to understand this impact.

The GBADs program aims to identify the economic burden of disease in livestock, which will support the development of animal health policies aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“This will not only help us understand what health issues are occurring in the animal population, but also predict patterns beyond infectious disease, including how flooding, drought and fires will affect human health and production. cattle, ”Dr. Bruce said.

“Farmers and policymakers will be able to compare the health of their herds to what a disease-free herd looks like, which will provide a clearer picture of the loss of production caused by sick livestock. We can then prioritize the diseases to fight using objective data from GBAD. “

Dr Bruce is one of the principal investigators leading the One Health initiative at Murdoch, which promotes a holistic view of the environmental, economic and social impacts of pests and diseases on animals and humans.

“Maintaining healthy livestock is as important to human health and our environment as it is to the health of our animals,” said Dr. Bruce.

“If we have animals laden with disease, it increases competition for land, air and water. So from an environmental perspective, if we can improve the health of the system, we can use our resources more efficiently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from animal production and decrease our water footprint.

Dr Bruce’s work on the GBADs program, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development, helps inform strategic investments in animal health practices around the world.

“This will be particularly useful for Australia as a biosecurity measure, as we can predict which diseases to prepare for based on what is happening in neighboring countries,” she said. “I am delighted because this program will help us make objective decisions and coordinate animal health policy at the regional level rather than ad hoc disease specific projects. “

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