The One health approach

Recognizing the interconnection between people, animals and their shared environment

One Health

“One Health” is an approach to public health that recognizes that the interconnection of human health, animal health, and environmental health is the optimal method to address and prevent outbreaks of diseases that pass from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases).

The One Health approach is embraced by the World Health Organization, the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the World Bank, among many other international and domestic organizations. Uniting medical, veterinary, and environmental expertise under a One Health approach will help governments, businesses, and civil society prevent the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases.

Zoonotic diseases now account for three out of every four new infectious diseases in humans.

This is a direct result of the international wildlife trade, rising global temperatures contributing to the growth and spread of pathogens, human destruction and fragmentation of wildlife habitat bringing humans, wild animals, and domesticated animals in closer contact than ever before, the inappropriate use of wildlife in research laboratories, and the intensive confinement of animals in agriculture.

The global impact that zoonotic diseases have on human life has proven to be devastating and widespread, with COVID-19 as the latest example.

Without due consideration for the well-being of animals and the environment, humans remain highly vulnerable to another global pandemic. The risk of additional zoonotic diseases developing, spreading, and upending the human experience necessitates a One Health solution recognizing the interdependency of the health of animals, the environment, and every human across the globe.