Jonna Mazet of the University of California, Davis and colleagues describe their work in the Tanzania-based HALI Project, which adopts the "One Health" approach to address emerging zoonoses, recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. The report appears in this week's PLoS Medicine.
There is a strong need for integrated health approaches, the authors argue, because explosive human population growth and environmental changes have resulted in increased numbers of people living in close contact with wild and domestic animals.
Every day thousands of children and adults die from underdiagnosed diseases that have arisen at this human-animal-environment interface, especially diarrheal and respiratory diseases in developing countries. "Integrated policy interventions that simultaneously and holistically address multiple and interacting causes of poor human health—unsafe and scarce water, lack of sanitation, food insecurity, and close proximity between animals and humans—will yield significantly larger health benefits than policies that target each of these factors individually and in isolation'', the authors say.