The One Health Approach to Zoonotic Emerging Infectious Diseases

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Ariadne Nichol & David Magnus

Tag(s): Journal article


In light of the continuing threat of emerging infectious diseases, as exemplified by the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we must carefully consider the ethical implications of different public health approaches. Seeking to find new innovative, ethical approaches to addressing the issue of emerging infectious diseases might not be the best strategy. Instead, reflecting on and utilizing previous successful approaches might provide a faster and more effective path forward. In the feature article in the American Journal of Bioethics, Edwards et al. advocate for a One Health approach to infectious disease prevention and control. The One Health approach has been advocated for many years. Considering roughly 75% of emerging pathogens are transmitted from animals to humans, it makes sense to use an ecological public health approach towards emerging infectious diseases that are zoonotic in nature. While the One Health approach has much to offer, it is compatible with a range of particular strategies for addressing Ebola, some of which are more plausible than others.

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