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American Society for Microbiology supports 'One Health' initiative

May 12, 2008Washington, DCThe American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has endorsed the One Health Initiative, which recognizes the inter-relationships among human, animal, and environmental health and seeks to enhance communication, cooperation, and collaboration in integrating these areas for the health and well-being of all species.

The goals of the One Health Initiative are consistent with the ASM mission of applying and communicating knowledge of microbiology for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide, said ASM past president Dr. Stanley Maloy, who chairs ASMs Communications Committee.

Development of the One Health Initiative began in 2007 with the American Veterinary Medical Associations (AVMA) efforts to strengthen communication and collaboration with colleagues in human medicine. The AVMA convened a Task Force on this issue which is scheduled to release its report in June 2008. The Initiative has also been endorsed by the American Medical Association; other human health, veterinary, and environmental professional societies; and more than 300 individual scientists, including current and past leaders of the ASM.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Julie Gerberding has said, I am sure I speak for all of CDC in voicing my complete enthusiasm and support for the One Health Initiative. The CDC has established a new National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Disease (ZVED) that is fostering a multidisciplinary approach to understanding infectious disease ecology and zoonotic diseases.

Microbiology is a major interface among the disciplines of human, animal, and environmental health, said Maloy, who is Dean of Sciences at San Diego State University. The ASM can add a strong research-based component to further the goals of the Initiative by partnering with the veterinary and medical practitioner communities. Communication about the One Health concept can help advance the field of microbiology in an era of increased emphasis on interdisciplinary and translational research.

According to the resolution adopted by the Society, the ASM aims to support educational efforts that holistically join animal, human, and environmental health issues; encourage joint efforts in the diagnosis and treatment of animal and human diseases, including the responsible use of antimicrobials; support cross-species disease surveillance that can aid in the early recognition of emerging infectious diseases; support joint efforts in the development and evaluation of new diagnostic methods, medicines, and vaccines for the prevention and control of infectious diseases that cross species boundaries; encourage interdisciplinary and translational research on zoonotic infectious diseases; and foster a dialogue about appropriate funding mechanisms for research on animal, human, and environmental health.

Relevant One Health issues of special concern to the ASM include emerging infectious diseases of humans, animals, and plants, including those occurring naturally or as potential bioweapons; development and transmission of antimicrobial resistance; impact of global climate change on infectious disease in all species; the transmission of diseases among pets and farm animals and humans; the cross-species infectivity of human, animal, and plant pathogens; and the environmental pools of human and animal toxin genes and pathogens.


Contact: Barbara Hyde
American Society for Microbiology

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