Links between animal and human health

Animal and human health are intimately connected – think about avian influenza which is transmitted from birds to humans and the problem of toxoplasmosis being passed from animal faeces to children and adults. The University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine, has successfully secured an award worth up to €2 million from the European Commission to undertake interdisciplinary research to tackle the growing threat of foodborne zoonoses (infectious diseases transmitted from animals to humans) to the population’s health and the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

This award is part of a landmark €90 million pan European project between 41 acclaimed veterinary and medical laboratories and is an example of the ‘One Health’ concept which recognises that human health is interconnected with the health and welfare of animals and the environment. Training the next generation of scientists is a key component of the programme, and the University of Surrey will be taking a lead in this area.

Professor Roberto La Ragione, Head of Pathology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Surrey, School of Veterinary Medicine, said: “Recent zoonotic outbreaks such as avian influenza and the emergence of antibiotic resistance are perfect examples of why this research is urgently required.

“Transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans poses a significant threat to public health across the world and it is important that we act now to avoid its devastating effects.”

“Transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans poses a significant threat to public health across the world and it is important that we act now to avoid its devastating effects.”

Dr Dan Horton, Lecturer in Veterinary Virology, at the University of Surrey, School of Veterinary Medicine, said: “This programme will create a research community across Europe with medical, veterinary and environmental health scientists working together. Such an interdisciplinary and international approach is essential to address the threats of zoonotic disease and antimicrobial resistance.

“In putting the programme together we are also very grateful for the support we received from the Higher Education Council for England.”

David Sweeney, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Higher Education Council for England said: “HEFCE is delighted by this further success for the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of Surrey, which represents another vote of confidence in the UK’s world-leading research capability and its potential to help tackle global challenges.”

Professor Vince Emery, Senior Vice-President Global Strategy and Engagement at the University of Surrey added: “This is an excellent example of the substantial value and societal impact associated with being able to access trans-European networks through funding programmes within the EU – something we must seek to protect throughout the Brexit negotiation process”.

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The Hippocratic Editorial and VT team. Please send your suggestions to [email protected]
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Quote: “Transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans poses a significant threat to public health across the world and it is important that we act now to avoid its devastating effects.”

In light of this quote what then might the impact be of using animal and bird material in vaccines for example? Since this is purely experimental science for which no human has ever evolved, and historically recent, logic suggests we can have no way of knowing what interactions there might be given this artificial combination of human, animal and bird material.