One Health, One Medicine: An Agroeconomic Consideration

By Satesh Bidaisee, Associate Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St. George's University
August 19, 2011

Zoonoses, agriculture and food safety are all interconnected topics in that they all directly impact the health of humans.  The World Health Organization stated that in the last 30 years, there was an average of one newly discovered emerging infectious disease every year.  In fact, a report by Jones, et. al. (2008, pp. 990) indicated that 335 emerging infectious diseases were identified over the time span of 1940 and 2004.  Remembering that 75% of all infectious diseases are of zoonotic origin, these figures can have a devastating impact on human health.

Agriculture and food safety work synergistically in terms of its importance in the One Health, One Medicine concept. An inefficient practice of livestock and crop production will directly impact the quality of food consumed and resulting quality of life. There is a predominant effort made by developed countries to address the issues synonymous with food borne illnesses. This effort is extremely beneficial on a global aspect given the economic standing of these agricultural practices. A relevant example of this involves the poverty in Africa where 70% of the reasons for poverty in the continent can be attributed to poor livestock production (Schwabe, 1984).


Schwabe C.W., 1984. Veterinary Medicine and Human Health. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.  ISBN 0683075942

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