Meat, Monkeys, and Mosquitoes: A One Health Perspective on Emerging Diseases

Agriculture is the foundation of civilization. Food security from agriculture enabled the growth of cities; cities led to nations, and nations discovered the science and technology that allowed our numbers to grow.

But agriculture comes with costs including deforestation, environmental destruction, and emerging diseases. Meeting the growing world population’s demand for food, especially meat, while ensuring global health and sustainability in an era of climate change is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.

One Health is the concept that human, animal, and environmental health are linked. This concept can serve as a framework to analyze the interrelationships between food security, the environment, and emerging diseases. Approximately 75 percent of newly emerging diseases come from animals, called “zoonoses.” Mosquito-borne zoonoses, such as West Nile virus and Zika virus, exemplify the importance of implementing a One Health approach to interdisciplinary threats.

About the speaker: Dr Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP

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