Narratives of One Health In Action - One Health Commission

Narratives of One Health In Action

One Health can provide a safe, 'no judgment zone' for many needed conversations surrounding our most difficult global and environmental health challenges. ‘Narratives of One Health in Action’ is a page where many items can be shared, from peer reviewed scientific case studies to examples of One Health successes (or missed opportunities) to Op Eds and Opinion Pieces. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily approved by the One Health Commission but are shared ‘because’ this is a safe, no judgement zone and we need to hear from many perspectives on many of today’s challenges. Thoughtful articles written in a professional tone will be considered for posting. Submit suggested items to

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March 2020

Mar 25
March 25
The World at Risk: Covid-19, Global Sustainability and 1 HOPE (One Health for One Planet Education)

Author: George Lueddeke     In: PEAH – Policies for Equitable Access to Health

See Proposition #7 from Lueddeke’s Ten Propositions for Global Sustainability,

‘What if’ the unifying One Health and Well-Being Concept became the cornerstone of our education systems and societal institutions, thereby helping to create a ‘more just, sustainable and peaceful world’ (UN SDGs)? ……… “The criticality  of making a paradigm shift from human-centric to eco-centric thinking and behaviours is what the Covid-19 wake-up call is all about and ‘represents a precious opportunity to learn…a moment that affords an opportunity to understand what happened, why it happened and what we should do next’(4). Proposition #7 recommends that consideration be given for the One Health & Well-Being concept to become the cornerstone of our education systems and societal institutions.

Mar 24
March 24
COVID19-Like Animal-To-Human Diseases Set To Grow: Experts

Authors: Rishika Pardikar and Bhasker Tripathi   In:  Fit

"As the destruction of habitat and biodiversity loss expose humans to more zoonotic diseases that spread from animals to humans, a key programme to study the spread of these diseases and suggest ways to control them has been in the works in India since 2018. Following a global framework, the programme could help governments minimise the impact of an outbreak and prevent an outbreak from turning into an epidemic, experts told IndiaSpend."

Mar 23
March 23
Coronavirus wake up call to review human health and wildlife Conservation

Author: Nancy Ogonje     In: The Star

" A number of studies have linked reduced diversity among mammal species and an overall decrease in biodiversity to a rise in animal-borne diseases to humans. "

Mar 18
March 18
'Tip of the iceberg': is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?

Author:  John Vidal  In: The Guardian

"..... a number of researchers today think that it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases such as Covid-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise – with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike. In fact, a new discipline, planetary health, is emerging that focuses on the increasingly visible connections between the wellbeing of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems. "

(Though not exactly the same, on this point One Health and Planetary Health move in lockstep working in parallel toward a common goal.)

Mar 18
March 18
Ilaria Capua. To the coronavirus we’re just another host animal, so let’s use our intelligence

Author:  Ilaria Capua  In: LifeGate

Last year, Capua – whose phone has been ringing without interruption for days – wrote the book Circular Health: Empowering the One Health Revolution (Salute circolare. Una rivoluzione necessaria in the original Italian), published in Italy by Egea with an English translation upcoming in summer 2020. It focuses on the need to “rethink pathways, and suggest new and revolutionary ones to achieve a better balance with animals, plants as well as the environment that welcomes us every day”. These themes are as relevant as ever given that the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind the Covid-19 disease seems to have emerged from an “interspecies leap” caused by our exploitative and disrespectful manipulation of wild fauna and flora. Here’s what Capua told us about the importance of ecology and sustainability in facing a crisis such as the one we’re currently in.

Mar 17
March 17
Ban on the consumption of wild animals in China is very well received

Author Unknown  In: German.China.CN Blog

"On Sina Weibo, a microblogging platform, millions of people supported the ban with confidence that it will benefit both wildlife and human society. 'This is the first time that China's top legislature has imposed a nationwide ban that eliminates the decades-old habit of eating wild animals,' said Li Binbin, an assistant professor at Duke Kunshan University's environmental research center in Jiangsu Province. She said the decision shows the significant link between animal welfare and public health and eco-security. 'It is a crucial step in regulating the Chinese wildlife market and will constructively change the country's international image.' "

Mar 15
March 15
How to welcome a guest

Author: Adrian J Ivakhiv , In: Immanence: ecoculture, geophilosophy, mediapolitics


“The appearance of Coronavirus means that, suddenly, there is a massive taking account of a new visitor…… Like Edward Gorey’s “doubtful guest,” viruses arrive unbidden, surprisingly and mysteriously, stoking fear and taking victims without ever fully revealing their intents. They are “doubtful” not only because we doubt their guesthood. It is also doubtful that they are the guest and we are the host: the tables could easily be reversed to reveal us as the guests, setting up our tables amidst them and feigning surprise when they show up to take a seat. …. Their impact on us depends on our response to their presence. As some have advocated for years, the best response is something like the One Health Initiative, “a worldwide program, involving more than 600 scientists and other professionals, that advances the idea that human, animal and ecological health are inextricably linked and need to be studied and managed holistically.”  There is a global ecology of relations that implicate us, participants in global humanity. And it is calling us to take notice.”

Mar 15
March 15
Each Species Has its Own Coronavirus

Author: Rodríguez AB, In: ENDI,, Puerto Rico

In 2002 there was SARS and in 2012 MERS. Both cause severe respiratory syndromes in humans and are caused by different coronaviruses that originate from bats, but that used carrier species to affect people. In the case of SARS it was the civet cat and in MERS the camels. Hence the importance of understanding the behavior of these viruses and how animals, humans and the environment are related. A key concept known as One Health interrelates these three elements and is currently used to understand COVID-19.  

Mar 15
March 15
Coronavirus: why environmental destruction was key to its expansion

In: Diario San Rafael

“To avoid collapse, the WHO proposes the One health concept, linking environmental with animal and human health. If the world gets sick, humans, who are part of it, too….. Achieving this interdisciplinarity is one of the greatest challenges of the “anthropocene” era, marked by the accelerated destruction of the planet due to the actions of man.”

(Open in Chrome for translation)

Mar 13
March 13
Can veterinarians prevent the next pandemic? Veterinary epidemiologists advocate for one-health approach to researching, responding to zoonoses

Author: Scott Nolen  In:  JAVMA News

Dr. Saif said veterinarians should be involved in all aspects of zoonotic infections, in concert with a one-health approach. “Veterinarians need to be part of identifying the animal reservoirs and the intermediate hosts for these diseases,” she said. “This may focus on wildlife medicine, such as understanding the habitats and diversity of bat species as reservoirs for coronaviruses and multiple other viruses.”………………… “Also, more veterinarians should be working with other researchers to develop the most appropriate animal models for these diseases since we cannot test antivirals or vaccines without an animal model that reproduces the human disease and responses. “

Mar 11
March 11
How China’s “Bat Woman” Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus

Author: Jane Qui  In:  Scientific American

“ 'Once potential pathogens are mapped out, scientists and public health officials can regularly check for possible infections by analyzing blood and swab samples from livestock, wild animals that are farmed and traded, and high-risk human populations, such as farmers, miners, villagers who live near bats, and people who hunt or handle wildlife,' Gray says. 'This approach, known as “One Health,”, aims to integrate the management of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health. Only then can we catch an outbreak before it turns into an epidemic,” he says, adding that the approach could potentially save the hundreds of billions of dollars such an epidemic can cost.”

Mar 11
March 11
One Health-Sweden's Björn Olsen on coronavirus: “We need smart strategies”

In: Mirage News

“What was extremely interesting from the start, but isn’t discussed so much now, is why we humans can get this virus at all. It’s a matter of human expansion. We’ve become too numerous, and take up too much space. We humans exploit animals and nature. So we get not only meat and milk, but also strange viruses. This ought to be given more attention,” Olsen says.


Scientists call this interdisciplinary way of looking at health “One Health”. Since many infectious agents circulate between animals and humans in nature, doctors, veterinarians and ecologists are collaborating in their quest to understand how various pathogens spread and how new infections arise.  View the full interview.

Mar 10
March 10
(The New) Coronavirus and pets

Author: Rodríguez AB, In: ENDI,,Puerto Rico

“….if a habitat that has animals is destroyed, what will happen to these animals and their diseases? These can pass to animals that have never been exposed to these bacteria or viruses, or sometimes to people in that nearby habitat. How can we solve these problems? Looking at these interactions through the concept of One Health (“One Health”). This concept unites the human medical, veterinary and environmental aspects. Through the scientific collaboration of the three branches, it is the only way in which we can understand how these diseases behave and how to face them. “

(Open in Chrome for translation)

Mar 6
March 6
Fight Pandemics Like Wildfires With Prevention and a Plan to Share the Costs

Authors:  Machalaba C and Karesh WB    In: Foreign Affairs

"Yet around the world, governments and international organizations have treated the new coronavirus outbreak as a public health problem rather than a larger societal one whose causes and consequences will affect everything from finance and insurance to tourism and agriculture. Nearly every other type of disaster calls upon multiple sectors for response and prevention."

Mar 4
March 4
Why So Many Epidemics Originate in Asia and Africa

Author: Kuchipudi SV   In:  US News and World Report

As the current outbreak has shown, an infectious disease that starts in one part of the world can spread globally in virtually no time whatsoever. There is an urgent need for constructive conservation strategies to prevent deforestation and reduce animal-human interactions. And a comprehensive global surveillance system to monitor the emergence of these diseases – now missing – would be an indispensable tool in helping us fight these deadly and terrifying epidemics.

Mar 4
March 4
Coronavirus — a time for trade-offs

Authors:  Andrew Jack and Darren Dodd, In: Financial Times

“…..the biggest question is whether the world will give greater priority to investing in the prevention of future pandemics. That requires more focus on links between health and the environment including “one health” measures to limit the spread of animal infection to humans. Examples include tougher controls on their intensifying interactions through climate change, deforestation and “wet markets” where live animals are sold for slaughter.”

Mar 3
March 3
Why wildlife health issues are not just a biodiversity concern.

Author: Flavie Vial and Paul Duff, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Gov.UK Blog

“The emergence of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance in wildlife must be viewed through a multi-disciplinary lens that captures issues and threats not only in people and domesticated animals but also the wider environment. One Health is the only approach to mitigating health risks in today’s world.”

Mar 2
March 2
The COVID-19 outbreak shows how human, animal and environmental health requires a co-ordinated (One Health) approach

Author: Jeff Wichtel, Dean, Ontario Veterinary College

There’s nothing like a global epidemic to remind us just how interconnected we all are on Earth. For a long time, we behaved otherwise: medical doctors looked after people, veterinarians treated animals and ecologists attended to the environment. That fragmented approach to health and disease is no longer good enough.

Mar 2
March 2
Ten Propositions for Global Sustainability

By George Lueddeke in PEAH, Policies for Equitable Access to Health, March 2020

Proposition #7 is pivotal for all others ...

What If?... THE UNIFYING ONE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING CONCEPT became the cornerstone of our education systems and societal institutions, thereby helping to create a “more just, sustainable and peaceful world” (UN-2030 Global Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs)?”


February 2020

Feb 28
February 28
Commonsense measures to protect ourselves against the Coronavirus | Opinion

Author: Kurt Shrader, US Congressional Representative from Oregon  In : Statesman Journal (part of USA Today)

“Diseases like Ebola, SARS and the Coronavirus are all examples of pandemics that began in animals before spreading to humans. This is why I have partnered with my fellow veterinarian Ted Yoho, R- Florida, to develop and advocate for the implementation of a framework called One Health. One Health framework prioritizes coordinated research between federal agencies like the CDC and USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent, prepare for and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks in the U.S. and internationally. We introduced the bipartisan Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act to coordinate and fund a One Health plan so we can prevent outbreaks and rapidly respond to them.

Feb 20
February 20
Corona virus illustrates the importance of a comprehensive “one health” approach

KfW Online Newsroom. German. Open in Chrome for translation.

Two thirds of all new infectious diseases worldwide, like the current coronavirus "Covid-19", come from animals. There is a growing awareness among experts that a much broader approach is needed to efficiently and effectively combat these diseases transmitted from animals to humans, which is summarized under the term "One Health".

Feb 18
February 18
Are we ready for new outbreaks?

Author: Dr. Siti Nursheena Mohd Zain, In: New Straits Times, Malaysia

"....all stakeholders, including clinicians, scientists, veterinarians and ecologists, must work together with government ministries to come up with practical solutions to combat new and emerging diseases. "

Feb 16
February 16
One Health concept gains importance

Author: Muringatheri M.  In:  The Hindu

Feb 14
February 14
Social solidarity vs COVID-19

Author:  Tan M, In: Philippine Daily Inquirer

In times like these we need to think of One Health, which considers the interactions of the health of humans, of the environment, and of nonhuman animals. We started the decade with all kinds of challenges to this notion of One Health. Think of Taal, the eruption of which was a gigantic paroxysmal “cough” that wreaked havoc on humans and nonhuman animals. Humans form the most complicated part of One Health—nearly 8 billion of us now, many living in very densely populated megacities.

Feb 12
February 12
Coronavirus: Why China Needs to Change its Animal Health Policies

Author: Seifman R.  Board Member, United Nations Association-National Capital Area

China’s troubles with the on-going coronavirus outbreak originate with its animal health policies and programs: They need to change and here is how.

What to do? 

Simply put, pursue a One Health approach, one which leads to integrated human-animal-environmental health policies and actions. To do this China, and other countries to be sure, will need to spend much more on veterinarians, wildlife professionals, food safety officers, and animal virus laboratory professionals. 

Most importantly, they need to actively make aware and engage civil society and communities in identifying possible animal diseases, providing incentives for reporting, not fear in so doing. More reference veterinarians and animal health para-professionals, as well as microbiologists and laboratory technicians,  and animal and human reference laboratories, are needed to analyze a suspected virus, to prevent and contain, rather than resorting to a costly response.

Feb 10
February 10
How to see the next viral threat coming

Author: Greg Gray  In: The Hill

"This emerging collaborative field, often called “one health,” integrates knowledge from several different spheres, including human health, animal health, environmental health and agricultural businesses. The approach is gaining traction among academics, government officials and international policymakers as the best way to approach complex problems such as emerging zoonotic diseases. But we need to do more to integrate this approach into how we prepare for viruses like the newly emerged coronavirus."

Feb 8
February 8
A Smithsonian team discovered a new coronavirus. The story behind that effort shows what it takes to get ahead of potential pandemics.

Author: Theresa Vargas, In: The Washington Post

Suzan Murray, director of the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program and former chief veterinarian of the zoo, says it was once normal for people to talk about the environment and human health separately. Now, she says, there is a “holistic approach.” There is recognition that human health is tied to the health of the environment and the wildlife in it.

Feb 6
February 6
2019-nCoV in context: lessons learned?

Authors:  Kock RA, Karesh WB, et. al.   In: The Lancet, Planetary Health

“There is an increasing focus on the human-animal environment disease interface, as encompassed in the One Health concept…… .......have we learned lessons? Yes and no. These events are of global public health and economic importance and need collective societal response. But governments and civil society are not heeding these warnings, as the 2019-nCoV attests. Concerns have been repeatedly raised and voiced since the idea of One Health was first expressed in around 2000. What we need to learn and communicate is that the zoonotic or agricultural bridging of novel pathogens from domestic and captive wildlife needs urgent attention, along with attention to the human appetite for meat.”

Feb 4
February 4
Coronavirus from China: Why One Health Is The Solution

Author: Richard Seifman

.... "When we speak of “health” we usually mean “human health”. But over 70% of infectious diseases affecting “humans” are zoonotic, from animals to humans. For optimal health outcomes, we need to take into consideration human, animal, plant, and environmental health. That integrated strategy is at the heart of the “One Health” approach.".....

Feb 3
February 3
Coronavirus outbreak shows the risk in ignoring human activity’s impact on nature

The Star, Ontario, Canada

“One Health might sound like a hippie maxim, something you would see on a T-shirt in Kensington Market. But it is a widely accepted principle, one adopted by the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and other health authorities worldwide.

The current coronavirus outbreak is a sobering reminder that there is no firewall between animal and human health. Scientists believe the virus likely originated in bats and jumped to people at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. More than 60 per cent of emerging infectious diseases come from animals, and more than 70 per cent of those from wildlife, research shows. “

“We’re just one inhabitant of the planet, although we’re overtaking it, absolutely. And we need the health of the planet,” says Ray, of the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.  “We have to be thinking about health in a much more holistic way than we have been.”


January 2020

Jan 31
January 31
Coronavirus: Fear of a pandemic, or a pandemic of fear?


Arne Ruckert , Part-Time Professor, Social Determinants of Health, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa

Hélène Carabin, Canada Research Chair and Full Professor, Epidemiology and One Health, Université de Montréal

Ronald Labonte, Professor and Distinguished Research Chair, Globalization and Health Equity, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa


International response to this coronavirus also demonstrates considerable improvement, with rapid information flow and reporting of cases by Chinese authorities. But governance challenges remain, along with a growing awareness of the importance of what’s known as a One Health approach to pandemic outbreaks.

A One Health strategy recognizes that the health of humans is intricately linked to that of animals and their environments. In practice, it draws upon experts from human, animal and environmental health sciences, along with those in the humanities and social sciences, to build a response infrastructure that emphasizes information-sharing and co-ordination of actions across multiple sectors.

Jan 30
January 30
Wild animal link to coronavirus outbreak should revolutionise public health strategies

Author: Dirk U. Pfeiffer In: South China Morning Post


"A ‘one health’ approach, involving not just scientists but experts from disciplines such as economics and anthropology, could help"

Jan 29
January 29
One Health Approach Embraced as Challenges Emerge: Public Health Watch

Aurthor: Brian Dunleavy  In: Contagion Live, Infectious Diseases Today

Those who require a reminder of the importance of the One Health approach need look no further than the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak (2019 n-CoV).
One Health, which is designed to foster and streamline communication between infectious disease professionals engaged in human as well as veterinary health, is essentially where the rubber meets road when an outbreak occurs. Although we still have a lot to learn about the origins of 2019 n-CoV, it’s safe to assume that One Health protocols and principles have played, and will likely continue to play, a key role in getting the ongoing crisis under control

Jan 28
January 28
Stopping Outbreaks Through One Health: Making Tomorrow's Breakthroughs Possible

Author: Connor McCoy BioechNow Blog post

Biotechnology is leading to breakthroughs for human, animal and environmental health, but is there a way we can address these outbreaks before they spread from animal to human?         Yes, and the concept is called One Health.


So, what is One Health? It is a public health approach that ensures all areas of government are coordinated and working together to foster and advance innovation that is critical in protecting against diseases and malnutrition. The ability to prevent, prepare for, and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases such as coronavirus, Ebola, Zika, avian influenza (HPAI) and MERS depends on an improved understanding of the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health.

Jan 27
January 27
China's Coronavirus: How Do We Stop Such Deadly Threats?

Author: Gregory C. Gray  In:  US News and World Report

We know that most human emerging disease viruses first circulate in animals, yet we don’t often see them coming.

.................. "The continuous viral reproduction can sometimes lead to mutations or the mixing of viruses and a never-before-seen virus may emerge. Hence, new collaborative partnerships must be forged between agricultural businesses and human, animal and environmental health groups so that emerging viruses can be better be detected and mitigation strategies developed before a novel virus crosses over to infect man. Often, such an interdisciplinary collaboration is termed the "One Health Approach." Many institutions are calling for One Health interdisciplinary collaborations as the best approach to complex problems such as emerging viral threats".................

Jan 24
January 24
China's coronavirus outbreak proves we must pay closer attention to animal health

Author:  Carel du Marchie Sarvaas    In: The Telegraph

Stopping disease in humans by preventing disease in animals underpins the concept of “One Health”, an approach to public health that recognises the links between animals, people and planet.

Jan 15
January 15
Funding for One Health Capacities in Low- and Middle -Income Countries

Author:  Olga Jonas, Senior Fellow and Economic Adviser, Harvard Global Health Institute

Most infectious diseases with epidemic and pandemic potentials are of animal origin; control at the source thus requires detection in animals, before the threat extends to human populations. Core veterinary and human public-health systems that use One Health approaches are the first line of defense against contagion and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Adequate financing for core veterinary and human public-health systems is important for their performance. Despite the remarkably low costs of core public-health systems, financing has been inadequate, and spending has not even been officially monitored.

Jan 13
January 13
Do Pets Keep People Healthy?

"Zooeiya" is the term that describes the positive benefits to the health of people as a result of interacting with animals, and the primary focus of zooeyia studies is the ways that pets improve the health of their people.

Jan 10
January 10
One Health AMR Opportunity: US Veterinary hospital faces rare antibiotic-resistant e. coli

'While seeing a CRE outbreak in veterinary medicine did not come as a surprise, especially at a large veterinary hospital, this veterinary hospital was not prepared for it, and they don't think the profession is prepared for it. They are getting the word out about the outbreak, and having discussions with public health agencies, human medical colleagues, and experts in environmental monitoring, will result in some guidance for veterinarians.   "It's a really good One Health opportunity........It's a great opportunity to bring everyone together."

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