Video on Sustaining Global Surveillance and Response to Emerging Zoonotic Diseases

One Health Initiative Website

HUMAN-ANIMAL MEDICINE book referenced on OneHealth Initiative Site

New Book: HUMAN-ANIMAL MEDICINE: Clinical Approaches to Zoonoses and Other Shared Health Risks

Editors: Rabinowitz, P. Conti, L.

Release Date: December 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1-4160-6837-2

ISBN-10: 1-4160-6837-6

Abstract: Human-Animal Medicine focuses on the emerging diseases that cross between animals and humans, and points out the important environmental changes related to land use, climate change, intensification of food production, and other factors that help manifest these diseases. This evidence-based practice manual is designed to help you manage a wide range of clinical problems at the intersection of human and animal health, with practical steps for implementing the concept of “One Health” in daily practice of human and veterinary medicine and public health. Develop all the skills you need to effectively manage human-animal health problems with this timely, comprehensive resource.

Link to more detail on the book.

New Article: Linkages between animal and human health sentinel data.

Authors: Scotch M, Odofin L, Rabinowitz P.

Journal: BMC Veterinary Research

Volume:  5

Issue: 15

Pages: on-line

Abstract: In order to identify priorities for building integrated surveillance systems that effectively model and predict human risk of zoonotic diseases, there is a need for improved understanding of the practical options for linking surveillance data of animals and humans. We conducted an analysis of the literature and characterized the linkage between animal and human health data. We discuss the findings in relation to zoonotic surveillance and the linkage of human and animal data. METHODS: The Canary Database, an online bibliographic database of animal-sentinel studies was searched and articles were classified according to four linkage categories. RESULTS: 465 studies were identified and assigned to linkage categories involving: descriptive, analytic, molecular, or no human outcomes of human and animal health. Descriptive linkage was the most common, whereby both animal and human health outcomes were presented, but without quantitative linkage between the two. Rarely, analytic linkage was utilized in which animal data was used to quantitatively predict human risk. The other two categories included molecular linkage, and no human outcomes, which present health outcomes in animals but not humans. DISCUSSION: We found limited use of animal data to quantitatively predict human risk and listed the methods from the literature that performed analytic linkage. The lack of analytic linkage in the literature might not be solely related to technological barriers including access to electronic database, statistical software packages, and Geographical Information System (GIS). Rather, the problem might be from a lack of understanding by researchers of the importance of animal data as a ‘sentinel’ for human health. Researchers performing zoonotic surveillance should be aware of the value of animal-sentinel approaches for predicting human risk and consider analytic methods for linking animal and human data. Qualitative work needs to be done in order to examine researchers’ decisions in linkage strategies between animal and human data.

Article on PubMed

New Article: Human and animal sentinels for shared health risks.

Authors: Rabinowitz, P, Scotch M, Conti L

Journal: Veterinaria Italiana

Volume: 45

Issue: 1

Pages: 23-34

Abstract: The tracking of sentinel health events in humans in order to detect and manage disease risks facing a larger population is a well accepted technique applied to influenza, occupational conditions and emerging infectious diseases. Similarly, animal health professionals routinely track disease events in sentinel animal colonies and sentinel herds. The use of animals as sentinels for human health threats, or of humans as sentinels for animal disease risk, dates back at least to the era when coal miners brought caged canaries into mines to provide early warning of toxic gases. Yet the full potential of linking animal and human health information to provide warning of such ‘shared risks’ from environmental hazards has not been realised. Reasons appear to include the professional segregation of human and animal health communities, the separation of human and animal surveillance data and evidence gaps in the linkages between human and animal responses to environmental health hazards. The ‘One Health initiative’ and growing international collaboration in response to pandemic threats, coupled with development in the fields of informatics and genomics, hold promise for improved sentinel event coordination in order to detect and reduce environmental health threats shared between species.

Link to article on journal’s website.

New Article: Animals as sentinels of chemical terrorism agents: an evidence-based review.

Authors: Rabinowitz P, Wiley J, Odofin L, Wilcox M, Dein FJ

Journal: Clinical Toxicology

Volume: 46

Issue: 2

Pages: 93-100

Abstract: OBJECTIVES: The goal of this systematic review was to identify evidence that animals could serve as sentinels of an attack with a chemical terrorism agent. METHODS: The biomedical literature was systematically searched for evidence that wild or domestic animals exposed to certain chemical weapons of terrorism had either greater susceptibility, shorter latency period, or increased exposure risk versus humans. Additionally, we searched for documented reports of such animals historically serving as sentinels for chemical warfare agents. RESULTS: For a small number of agents, there was limited evidence that domestic and/or wild animals could provide sentinel information to humans following an airborne attack with chemical agents, usually related to increased potential for environmental exposure. Some of this evidence was based on anecdotal case reports, and in many cases high quality chemical terrorism agent evidence regarding comparative susceptibility, exposure, and latency between humans and sentinel animal species was not found. CONCLUSION: Currently, there is insufficient evidence for routine use of animals as sentinels for airborne chemical warfare agents. At the same time, Poison Center surveillance systems should include animal calls, and greater communication between veterinarians and physicians could help with preparedness for a chemical terrorism attack. Further analysis of comparative chemical warfare agent toxicity between sentinel animal species and humans is needed.

Article on PubMed

New Article: From us vs. them to shared risk: can animals help link environmental factors to human health?

Authors: Rabinowitz P, Odofin L, Dein FJ

Journal: Ecohealth

Volume: 5

Issue: 2

Pages: 224-9

Abstract: Linking human health risk to environmental factors can be a challenge for clinicians, public health departments, and environmental health researchers. While it is possible that nonhuman animal species could help identify and mitigate such linkages, the fields of animal and human health remain far apart, and the prevailing human health attitude toward disease events in animals is an “us vs. them” paradigm that considers the degree of threat that animals themselves pose to humans. An alternative would be the development of the concepts of animals as models for environmentally induced disease, as well as potential “sentinels” providing early warning of both noninfectious and infectious hazards in the environment. For such concepts to truly develop, critical knowledge gaps need to be addressed using a “shared risk” paradigm based on the comparative biology of environment-host interactions in different species.

Article on PubMed

Surveillance For Human and Animal Disease: Progress and Pitfalls

On October 3, 2008, Dr. Rabinowitz presented Surveillance For Human and Animal Disease: Progress and Pitfalls at Princeton University’s Seminar on Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Global Health. View the slides!

Canary Database Reports Podcasts 1 & 2

We’re happy to announce our first Canary Database Reports podcasts, hosted by Peter and Dan. Episode one features an introduction to the Canary Database, from its origins to its latest features. Episode two features a discussion of our recent paper on Animals as Sentinels of Bioterrorism Agents.

We think that these discussions will be a useful addition to our resources, and we have additional episodes planned in the near future, so stay tuned!

To subscribe to the Canary Database Reports podcast, visit iTunes here or point other podcast catchers right at our podcast feed:

Let us know what you think!