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

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

01/24/2020

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.

The rapid, global response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, has been impressive and vital. By sequencing the virus within weeks, scientists have accelerated the process of developing a treatment and even a vaccine.

 

But recent novel cases of human coronavirus are just the latest reminder that we are too often missing the opportunity to act before new diseases emerge in people.

 

Coronaviruses, like the ongoing outbreak or SARS, are zoonotic, meaning they can pass between animals and people. The source of this outbreak has yet to be confirmed but it could be any number of animal carriers from snakes to pigs.

 

It may seem counter-intuitive, then, but with six out of 10 infectious diseases being zoonotic, one of the best ways to protect people from diseases like coronavirus is to first protect the health of animals. 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.

 

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