The Yale Human Animal Medicine Project has a new website and is on Twitter too!

Yale Human Animal Medicine Project has a new website!  You can follow us on Twitter too!

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Customized PREDICT Healthmap

As part of the PREDICT project, which strives to build a global early warning system for emerging diseases that move between wildlife and people,  Healthmap has customized a map for news alerts in the global “hotspots” of interest.  View the map at  http://healthmap.org/predict/.

Washington Post: Animal Diseases as Warnings

Animal Diseases as Warnings: Wider Tracking of Wildlife Illnesses Aimed at Detecting Bio-Attacks

Authors: D’Vera Cohn

Journal: Washington Post

Year: 2006 Pages: B03

In today’s paper:

“Not every animal disease indicates a human health risk, but some do more than we are always aware of,” said Peter Rabinowitz, an associate professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, the main author of a recent journal article concluding that wildlife, livestock or pets could play a key role in signaling an anthrax or plague attack. “Human health professionals don’t get a lot of training in this, and we are having to play catch-up.”

For more about that recent journal article, see this earlier Canary Database Project News item.

In <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/23/AR2006052301676.html">today’s paper</a>:

<blockquote>
"Not every animal disease indicates a human health risk, but some do more than we are always aware of," said Peter Rabinowitz, an associate professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, the main author of a recent journal article concluding that wildlife, livestock or pets could play a key role in signaling an anthrax or plague attack. "Human health professionals don’t get a lot of training in this, and we are having to play catch-up."
</blockquote>

For more about that recent journal article, see <a href="https://news.canarydatabase.org/archives/13">this earlier Canary Database Project News item</a>.

NYT report on ISEZ 2006, attended by project staff

Tackling the Animal-to-Human Link in Illness

Authors: Lawrence K. Altman

Journal: New York Times

Year: 2006

ISSN: 0362-4331

Canary Database P.I. Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., attended the recent International Symposium on Emerging Zoonoses 2006 conference in Atlanta. The event was written up in the New York Times:

“Stronger ties between veterinarians and physicians are needed to prevent further outbreaks of the animal diseases that have caused deaths and serious illness among humans in many countries in recent years, international health officials said at a meeting here.”

Tags: zoonoses isez symposium

Canary Database P.I. Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., attended the recent <a href="http://www.isezconference.org/home.htm">International Symposium on Emerging Zoonoses 2006</a> conference in Atlanta. The event was written up in the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/25/health/25infect.html">New York Times</a>:

<blockquote>"Stronger ties between veterinarians and physicians are needed to prevent further outbreaks of the animal diseases that have caused deaths and serious illness among humans in many countries in recent years, international health officials said at a meeting here."</blockquote>zoonoses isez symposium

Press Release: Animals Warn of Human Health Hazards in New Canary Database

New Haven, Conn. — Yale School of Medicine has launched a state-of-the-art database funded in part by the National Library of Medicine, called the Canary Database, containing scientific evidence about how animal disease events can be an early warning system for emerging human diseases.

There have long been reports of animals succumbing to environmental hazards before humans show signs of illness, according to the project’s leader, Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., associate professor of medicine in The Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program at Yale University School of Medicine.

“This concept of a ‘canary in a coal mine’ suggests that animals may be useful sentinels for human environmental health hazards,” said Rabinowitz. He points to the practice in the United States and Britain where coal miners would bring canaries into coal mines as an early warning signal for carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases. The birds, being more sensitive, would become sick before the miners, who would then have a chance to escape or put on protective respirators.

Rabinowitz said several episodes of illness in animals have been clearly linked to human health threats, including cats and mercury poisoning, and more recently wild bird mortality and West Nile Virus infection.

Rabinowitz said non-human animals could be more sensitive to many of the agents that are potential biological or chemical weapons and could therefore serve as “sentinels” for a terrorist attack. At the same time, the public health system has been slow to use animal sentinel data to detect and reduce human environmental health hazards. Rabinowitz said there is a lack of ongoing scientific communication between animal health and human health professionals about emerging disease threats. This has made it difficult to assemble the evidence about linkages between animal diseases and human health.

To address this need, Rabinowitz and his team developed The Canary Database of Animals as Sentinels of Human Environmental Health Hazards, a web-based collection of animal sentinel studies that have been collected and curated in terms of their relevance to human health. The project represents a collaborative effort between the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, the Yale Center for Medical Informatics and the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

The database team is currently developing a series of evidence-based reviews focusing on the use of animal sentinel data in human health decision-making. “To do this,” Rabinowitz said, “we have to apply the principles of evidence-based medicine to a whole new field: the interface of animal and human health.”

Meanwhile, experts at the Yale Center for Medical Informatics are creating state-of-the-art knowledge integration software and information visualization tools allowing users to explore the rich database. Animal health experts at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the nation’s primary wildlife disease research facility, provided background on potential disease transmission between humans and wildlife for emerging diseases such as monkey pox, SARS, Avian influenza, West Nile Virus and Chronic Wasting Disease.

To access the database, please visit http://canarydatabase.org/.