This is a report of a conference held at Chatham House from 16-17 March 2010.
The meeting was held as part of the Livestock-Sector Governance project jointly implemented by Chatham House and the STEPS Centre at the Institute for Development Studies with the financial support of the World Bank.
- High profile outbreaks such as SARS, H5N1 avian influenza and the H1N1 pandemic influenza have provided a potent reminder of our increasing vulnerability to the emergence of infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans.
- Public health authorities traditionally respond by identifying risk factors relating to human and increasingly animal diseases, focusing on an 'emergency response' to contain and then eliminate the infections in human and animal populations once they had been detected in humans.
- The global community is now moving towards a 'One Health' approach that recognises the interrelatedness of human, animal and environmental sectors and calls for coordinated prevention, detection and control strategies.
- However, a recent Chatham House meeting concluded that better prevention and control could be achieved by addressing the underlying factors which, although not traditionally seen as related to animal and human health, facilitate the emergence and spread of these diseases. These factors shape disease risks by changing the nature of interactions among and between wildlife, livestock and humans - through, for instance, land-use change, trade practices and climate change.
- To prevent serious infectious disease outbreaks in the future, collaborative efforts will need to focus on identifying the most cost-effective and feasible intervention strategies and mobilise the necessary political and financial support to implement them.