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Biological threats from a ‘One Health’ perspective

Author(s) : J. Zinsstag, L. Crump & M.S. Winkler

Summary :

Biological threats are a prime example of an issue that needs the ‘One Health’ approach. Such an approach would facilitate the prevention and mitigation of these threats. ‘One Health’ is defined as any added value in terms of the health of humans and animals, financial savings or environmental services achievable through the cooperation of human and veterinary medicines when compared to the two disciplines working separately. This principle also applies to the involvement of other disciplines from the natural sciences and humanities. This paper is not an exhaustive survey of integrated approaches but discusses concepts and methods and provides key examples of the benefits of a ‘One Health’ approach when applied to biological threats. Zoonoses and vector-borne diseases (i.e. diseases transmitted between animals and humans and by insect or acarian vectors) remain central biological threats in highly dynamic social and environmental conditions. Such diseases are not always directly transmitted. Contaminated food, water, air and soil represent important sources of transmission for foodborne and environmentally related diseases.


Antimicrobial resistance – Biological threat – Foodborne – Health impact assessment – One Health – Syndromic surveillance – Vector-borne – Zoonosis.

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