The health of people, animals, and our environment are inextricably interconnected. Understanding and addressing the health issues created at this intersection is the concept of One Health.
You may be surprised that this is not a new concept. The theory was supported in the 1800s by William Osler and Rudolf Virchow, the Father of Comparative Pathology. Our increasing interdependence with animals and their products has spurred the veterinary profession to collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals, and our environment.
More than ever, veterinarians protect not only animal health, but through them, the health of all the human beings on the planet.
- The demand for food from animals to feed the world will increase by 50% over the next decade. Veterinarians make certain those animals are healthy.
- Animal populations are under pressure to survive are leading to a loss of biodiversity. Veterinarians working in ecosystem heath and natural resource management ensure the viability of all species.
- Of the 1,461 diseases now recognized in humans, approximately 60% are “zoonotic.” Like West Nile Virus, which can infect both horses and humans, zoonotic diseases impact multiple species.
- Over the last three decades, approximately 75% of new, emerging human infectious diseases have been zoonotic. By preventing and managing disease in animals, veterinarians protect humans.
Veterinary medicine is in a unique position, well-grounded in population health, comparative medicine, and preventive medicine. By working together with other medical professionals, veterinarians are leading the way on improving health worldwide. One Health calls for the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.