Unit | Human and Animal Health

The unit uses a One Health approach for zoonoses control and improving the health of mobile populations. We demonstrate the synergistic potentials of closer cooperation between the human and animal health sectors. Particular attention is paid to the added value of One Health for better health and well-being, environmental services and financial savings. Among neglected zoonoses in developing countries, brucellosis and rabies are central in our work, which spans from capacity-building to interventions.

Systemic integrated approaches

We do systemic research to consider health as an outcome of social-ecological systems given its connections in social, cultural, economic and ecological dimensions. This allows us to describe both qualitative and quantitative linkages between humans, animals and the environment.

Inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches

Our inter- and trans-discplinary research on seasonal and labor migrants benefits from long-standing work on the health of mobile pastoralists and balances the needs of both communities and service providers. These processes lead to testing of adapted information and services in mobile communities.

Jakob Zinsstag, Professor, PhD, DVM

Health of Pastoralists and the Future of Pastoralism

A major topic in our unit is the testing of innovative ways to improve the health of pastoralists, their livestock and the pastures they use. In many regions, there are hardly any alternatives to mobile livestock production which uses the vast dry grasslands. Ongoing research and action projects are in Mongolia, Chad and Ethiopia. Since we are among only a few research units working on health of pastoralists, the World Animal Health Organization asked us to edit a thematic issue on the Future of Pastoralism. It gives a broad view on pastoralism and pastoral livestock production from a cultural, social, economic, ecological and climatic, conservation, institutional, governance and security perspectives.

Towards Elimination of Dog Rabies in West- and Central Africa

Why is there no or insufficiently effective action to control and eliminate dog rabies? There is considerable overrepresentation of laboratory investigations or pathogen associated and basic epidemiology research. However, information on effective control activities and policies is nearly absent. Our research contributes to fill the gap between knowledge and effective action by addressing the social, political, economic and psychological complexity of effective rabies control interventions. In Chad, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, we assess the burden of rabies for planning provision of post-exposure prophylaxis. Dog rabies could be eliminated by mass vaccination of dogs, thus we are also studying the dynamics of dog rabies elimination after mass vaccination.

Download the flyer for our book ‘One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches’.

Practicing One Health not only improves human and animal health but also allows considerable financial savings and contributes to a better environment. This value cannot be achieved working alone but is a triumph of truly interdisciplinary and intersectoral work. The course reflects this and brings together different disciplines in a selection of case studies, demonstrating the advantages of a closer cooperation between human and animal health and social and cultural sciences.

Join our One Health free online course which starts November 7, 2016

www.futurelearn.com/courses/one-health

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Selected projects at this location:

Mosimann L et al. A mixed methods approach to assess animal vaccination programmes: the case of rabies control in Bamako, Mali. Acta Trop. 2017;165:203-215. DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.10.007

Lauper J, Marolf V, Levionnois O, Schelling E, Meylan M, Spadavecchia C. Does systemic lidocaine reduce ketamine requirements for endotracheal intubation in calves?. Vet Anaesth Analg. 2017(in press). DOI: 10.1016/j.vaa.2016.07.002

Mauti S et al. Factors associated with dog rabies immunisation status in Bamako, Mali. Acta Trop. 2017;165:194-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.10.016

Hattendorf J, Bardosh K.L, Zinsstag J. One health and its practical implications for surveillance of endemic zoonotic diseases in resource limited settings. Acta Trop. 2017;165:268-273. DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.10.009

Crump L, Béchir M, Ngandolo B.N, Daugla D.M, Hattendorf J, Zinsstag J. Seasonal dynamics of human retinol status in mobile pastoralists in Chad. Acta Trop. 2017;166:280-286. DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.11.040