Research Topic

Taking a Fresh Look at Old Zoonoses: What Have We Been Missing in One Health Research and Education?

About this Research Topic

The COVID-19 pandemics, with the current deaths exceeding 100 000, recalled that human health is inextricably linked to that of animals and environment. The majority of infectious diseases in humans are enzootic in animal populations and the transmission is a natural product of their relations in interconnected environments. Emerging zoonoses are a rising threat to global health, having caused hundreds of billions of US dollars of economic damage in the past 20 years. However, the greatest burden on human health and livelihoods is caused by endemic zoonoses that are persistent regional health problems around the world.

Addressing this group of diseases requires collaborative, cross-sectoral efforts of human and animal health systems and a multidisciplinary approach that considers the complexities of the ecosystems where humans and animals coexist, an idea described as a One Health perspective.

The objective of this research topic is to highlight how much emerging and endemic zoonoses are increasingly relevant to the global medical community. In particular, endemic zoonoses are significant both in industrialized and in many low-income and middle-income countries, where they may or may not be adequately diagnosed or reported, causing uncertainty to the official figures.

A particular focus will be given to “neglected” zoonotic diseases, affecting poor and marginalized populations in low-resource settings. For these diseases, whose burden has proven difficult to estimate, it is virtually impossible to assess the real impact on the social wellbeing and the mental health of affected communities, livestock owners and their families. Specifically, the special issue calls for studies performed at human/animal/environment interfaces to better understand whether zoonoses affect populations in developing or developed countries, with particular reference to cultural practices and social impact.

To effectively address the very complex problems related to zoonoses’ prevention and control, it is necessary to put in place an inter and transdisciplinary approach including human and veterinary medicine, traditional public health, food safety, sanitation and hygiene. However, involvement of other areas including social sciences, economy, food production systems, sustainable practices, waste management, and ecosystem health is necessary.

The Research Topic will particularly seek for research studies performed through multisectoral collaborations, including clinicians, public health scientists, ecologists, veterinarians and economists, to in-deep the causes of zoonotic diseases and the underlying issues that drive increased transmission of pathogens in humans, wildlife, and livestock. Review articles on these topics are also encouraged.

One Health leadership is greatly needed for an effective co-ordination of very different sectors and disciplines, able to identify potential risks related to zoonoses and to align and coordinate prevention and control actions and policy making.

The role of Universities is thus crucial and many are already engaged in developing initiatives and education programs. These activities are run to provide a versatile healthcare workforce in order to be better prepared and to respond to existing and emerging environmental and epidemiological crises.

A further goal of this special issue will be to collect contributes that will stimulate discussion regarding the role of academia in One Health education, research and knowledge transfer to promote and protect the health of human, animals and environment.


Keywords: zoonoses, socio-economic impact, public health, education, one-health


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The COVID-19 pandemics, with the current deaths exceeding 100 000, recalled that human health is inextricably linked to that of animals and environment. The majority of infectious diseases in humans are enzootic in animal populations and the transmission is a natural product of their relations in interconnected environments. Emerging zoonoses are a rising threat to global health, having caused hundreds of billions of US dollars of economic damage in the past 20 years. However, the greatest burden on human health and livelihoods is caused by endemic zoonoses that are persistent regional health problems around the world.

Addressing this group of diseases requires collaborative, cross-sectoral efforts of human and animal health systems and a multidisciplinary approach that considers the complexities of the ecosystems where humans and animals coexist, an idea described as a One Health perspective.

The objective of this research topic is to highlight how much emerging and endemic zoonoses are increasingly relevant to the global medical community. In particular, endemic zoonoses are significant both in industrialized and in many low-income and middle-income countries, where they may or may not be adequately diagnosed or reported, causing uncertainty to the official figures.

A particular focus will be given to “neglected” zoonotic diseases, affecting poor and marginalized populations in low-resource settings. For these diseases, whose burden has proven difficult to estimate, it is virtually impossible to assess the real impact on the social wellbeing and the mental health of affected communities, livestock owners and their families. Specifically, the special issue calls for studies performed at human/animal/environment interfaces to better understand whether zoonoses affect populations in developing or developed countries, with particular reference to cultural practices and social impact.

To effectively address the very complex problems related to zoonoses’ prevention and control, it is necessary to put in place an inter and transdisciplinary approach including human and veterinary medicine, traditional public health, food safety, sanitation and hygiene. However, involvement of other areas including social sciences, economy, food production systems, sustainable practices, waste management, and ecosystem health is necessary.

The Research Topic will particularly seek for research studies performed through multisectoral collaborations, including clinicians, public health scientists, ecologists, veterinarians and economists, to in-deep the causes of zoonotic diseases and the underlying issues that drive increased transmission of pathogens in humans, wildlife, and livestock. Review articles on these topics are also encouraged.

One Health leadership is greatly needed for an effective co-ordination of very different sectors and disciplines, able to identify potential risks related to zoonoses and to align and coordinate prevention and control actions and policy making.

The role of Universities is thus crucial and many are already engaged in developing initiatives and education programs. These activities are run to provide a versatile healthcare workforce in order to be better prepared and to respond to existing and emerging environmental and epidemiological crises.

A further goal of this special issue will be to collect contributes that will stimulate discussion regarding the role of academia in One Health education, research and knowledge transfer to promote and protect the health of human, animals and environment.


Keywords: zoonoses, socio-economic impact, public health, education, one-health


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2020 Abstract
30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2020 Abstract
30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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