Experts call for coordinated One Health mechanism in Kerala

Even as Zoonoses Day is observed worldwide on Wednesday, demand is rife for a coordinated One Health mechanism for continuous surveillance for zoonotic diseases and their management in the State.

The recent outbreak of anthrax in wild boars in the Athirappilly region in Thrissur district and the death of a college student in Palakkad due to rabies call for wider consultations among various sectors to prevent such instances in the future.

“A majority of the novel, emerging zoonotic diseases originate in animals, especially wildlife, and their emergence is associated with human activities, including changes in ecosystems and land use, intensification of agriculture, urbanisation, and international travel and trade. A collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach, cutting across animal, human and environmental health is needed to understand the ecology of each emerging zoonotic disease to undertake a risk assessment and develop plans for response and control,” said B. Sunil, Professor and Head, Department of Veterinary Public Health, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU).

“Interdisciplinary collaboration is at the heart of the One Health concept, and we need veterinary, medical and wildlife communities to completely embrace the concept,” Dr. Sunil said. Though the varsity had set up the first One Health Centre in the country a decade ago to address the issue, the lack of a policy framework to link sectors still hinders the progress of the implementation of the concept, he added.

The one health concept has also been embedded into the veterinary curriculum at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, he said, adding that engaging the medical community more fully in the future may require the incorporation of the One Health concept into the medical school curricula, so that students see it as an essential component in the context of public health and infectious diseases.

Present-day health problems are complex, transboundary, multifactorial, and across species, and if approached from a standalone medical, veterinary, or ecological standpoint, coming up with sustainable mitigation strategies will be difficult, said V.K. Vinod, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Public Health, KVASU.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2022 10:33:29 am |