SEIB hosts ASID/AVA Joint Zoonoses Conference
The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley and the Chief Veterinary officer, Dr Mark Schipp, opened the first joint meeting on zoonoses convened by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and the Australian Veterinary Association.
Dr Schipp defined “One health” as that of the population as a whole, namely, as an essential collaboration between human, animal and environmental health. He noted that zoonoses (diseases transmitted between animals and humans) are increasing and the close relationship between the pressure to produce more meat and milk in the developing world, poverty, the density of humans and livestock and the location of zoonoses “hotspots”. Professor Baggoley addressed issues in common between veterinary and human health practice and training. He emphasised the importance of controlling antimicrobial usage in humans, animals (including aquaculture) and agriculture in the prevention/reduction of antimicrobial resistance and the need for functional surveillance systems in human and animal health.
Medical and veterinary colleagues provided perspectives on animals as sources of new viral infections in humans. We learned that more than 800 viruses have been detected in bats by nucleic acid analysis, in the last few years. Hendra virus is transmitted from bat secretions to horses, amplified, but transmitted rarely to humans, and only those who have been in close contact with equine secretions. A horse vaccine is under development and a monoclonal antibody is being trialled for use in exposed people. Avian influenza has cost more than 20 billion USD in economic losses to date, but only 607 human cases. The highest number (from poultry) have occurred in Indonesia, where the mortality has been 86%.
Other topics included Q fever - new diagnostics, animal reservoirs, which include ruminants, bandicoots and macropods, and a cluster of human cases acquired from sick cats. Of concern in the context of antimicrobial resistance development is the apparent use of large quantities of antibiotics in salmon and trout farms in Australia. Food security, infection control, Clostridium difficile diarrhoea (not usually a zoonosis, but clade 5 strains can infect humans, occur in animals and are characterised by the presence of Binary toxin, whereas human strains contain Toxins A and B).
The ASID/AVA Joint Zoonoses Conference program is available here.
Copies of the presentations are available at the ASID website. Click on the 'Meetings' tab and then follow the links to zoonoses > presentations and posters.