One Health Committee

The One Health Committee, ‘One Health’ or ‘One Medicine’ proposes the unification of the medical and veterinary professions with the establishment of collaborative ventures in clinical care, surveillance and control of cross-species disease, education, and research into disease pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapy and vaccination. The concept encompasses the human population, domestic animals and wildlife and the impact that environmental changes (‘environmental health’) such as global warming will have on these populations.




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What is the WSAVA One Health Committee? 

The current definition of One Health largely focuses upon the interactions between man, domestic production animals, wildlife and the environment. The small companion animals (principally dogs and cats, but also including exotic pets such as rodents, chickens, reptiles, fish, birds and domestic minipigs) are generally not considered within One Health initiatives. The significance of small animals in this area has to date been understated when one considers:

• The growing number of animals of these species kept for companionship or working purposes
• The global mobility of small animals through more accessible pet travel
• The susceptibility of these species to a range of zoonotic infectious diseases and the status of some of these species as reservoirs for major human infections (e.g. rabies and leishmaniosis)
• The known interactions between these species and wildlife and production animals
• The importance of companion animals in society (the human – companion animal bond)
• The valuable lessons to be learnt from the scientific investigation of spontaneously arising disease in these species, which mimic diseases of man.

The WSAVA One Health Committee was convened in 2010.


The One Health Committee Mission Statement


To ensure the prominence of the small companion animal-human interface in the global One Health agenda


The WSAVA One Health Committee

The WSAVA One Health Committee comprises a group of academic and governmental experts in companion animal zoonotic infectious disease and comparative medicine, together with first opinion small animal practitioner representation. Committee members come from four continents and include representatives of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


One Health Committee members 

  • M.J. Day [Chair; UK]
  • A. Thiermann [OIE; Paris, France]
  • C. Rubin [CDC; Atlanta, USA]
  • M. Lappin [Colorado State University, USA)
  • S. Cleaveland [Glasgow University, UK]
  • C. Khanna [NIH; Maryland, USA]
  • C. Palatnik-de-Sousa [Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]
  • U. Karkare [Practitioner Representative; Mumbai, India]
  • Takashima [Practitioner Representative, Oregon, USA]
  • Colin Burows [WSAVA Past-President, Florida, USA]


Affiliate members 

  • E. Breitschwerdt [North Carolina State University, USA]
  • T. Kuiken [Erasmus Medical Centre, the Netherlands]
  • J. McQuiston [CDC, Atlanta, USA]


WSAVA One Health Committee Meetings

  • Birmingham, UK on 10th April 2012
  • CDC, Atlanta, Georgia on 30th November – 1st December 2011
  • Orlando, Florida on 13 – 14th January 2011


WSAVA One Health Committee: The Human-companion Animal Bond

The WSAVA One Health Committee recognizes the significance of the role of companion animals in human society and the wide ranging benefits to human health of association with pets. These interactions include the proven benefits of association with pets in childhood development, care of the ill and elderly and institutionalized populations. The WSAVA One Health Committee will work together with the WSAVA Wellness Committee to promote this important aspect of veterinary medicine.


WSAVA One Health Committee: Comparative and Translational Medicine

The WSAVA One Health Committee recognizes the value of the scientific investigation of the range of spontaneously arising canine and feline neoplastic, degenerative, immune-mediated and other diseases which mimic the homologous human diseases. Advances in genomic technology now mean that unparalleled value can be obtained from this area of comparative medicine. The WSAVA One Health Committee promotes and endorses high quality comparative and translational research of naturally occurring disease in companion animal populations. The Committee supports research performed in a clinical patient-based setting with appropriate legal and ethical approval.


WSAVA One Health Committee: Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

The WSAVA One Health Committee believes that the greatest impact and relevance for its work lies in the area of zoonotic infectious diseases. The strength of the committee’s expertise lies in this area with experts in the major companion animal zoonotic infectious diseases and the surveillance experience of the CDC and OIE. The committee appreciates that there are already many excellent initiatives related to key zoonotic diseases, and in particular rabies. Whilst the committee endorses and supports such initiatives, it recognizes that it does not have the resource or time to allocate to developing its own major new projects.

The committee recognizes the significant lack of co-ordinated small companion animal zoonotic disease surveillance internationally and is producing a position paper on this topic.
The committee recognizes that there is potential for the WSAVA global network to be used to rapidly disseminate information related to global disease pandemics, but more significantly for the practitioner network to be used as a conduit for infectious disease surveillance and reporting. However, in order to set up such a surveillance scheme and ensure the quality of the data, very large-scale funding would be required and this is beyond the current scope of the OHC.

The strength of the WSAVA lies in scientific education and communication and in order to conform to this strength the most relevant output from this committee will be in the provision of quality information for the global practitioner network. This will be provided via the medium of these webpages and the WSAVA One Health Facebook page.


WSAVA One Health Committee Publications

Day MJ. 2010. One health: the small companion animal dimension. Veterinary Record 167, 847-849.

Day MJ. 2011. One health: the importance of companion animal vector-borne diseases. Parasites and Vectors 4, 49.

M.J. Day, D. Sheahan, S. Cleaveland, C. Khanna, M.R. Lappin, C.B. Palatnik-de-Sousa, C. Rubin, A. Thiermann. 2011. The WSAVA One Health Committee: Positioning Companion Animals in Global Infectious Disease Surveillance. 1st International One Health Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

M.J. Day, D. Sheahan, S. Cleaveland, C. Khanna, M.R. Lappin, C.B. Palatnik-de-Sousa, C. Rubin, A. Thiermann. 2011. The WSAVA One Health Committee: Promoting Comparative Clinical Research - the Value of the Companion Animal Model. 1st International One Health Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Palatnik-de-Sousa CB, Day MJ. 2011. One health: the global challenge of epidemic and endemic leishmaniasis. Parasites and Vectors 4, 197 .


The Callisto Project

The WSAVA One Health Committee is a partner in the EU-funded CALLISTO Project, which is co-ordinated by the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe (FVE) and begins in January 2012.

CALLISTO is a think tank group that aims to:
(1) Provide an overview of companion animals as a source of infectious diseases for humans and food animals
(2) To propose targeted actions that contribute to reducing the risk for infectious disease outbreaks in humans and food animals in association with keeping companion animals.

CALLISTO includes nine partner associations (including FVE, WSAVA and FECAVA) and academic groups specialising in major companion animal infectious diseases.

The WSAVA Global One Health Award

The WSAVA One Health Committee has established the WSAVA Global One Health Award that is given to an individual or organization that has been very prominent in One Health. The award is made at the annual Congress (not necessarily every year) and will be accompanied by a One Health lecture.

Additionally, the committee wishes to encourage younger members of the profession to engage with One Health and so has established a second award to a presenter of a poster or talk at the annual congress that emphasizes the One Health message.

The recipient of the 2011 WSAVA Global One Health Award was the OIE and in 2012 it was Professor Ab Oosterhaus.

WSAVA One Health Committee Sponsors

The WSAVA One Health Committee is supported by the WSAVA Foundation through a consortium of industry sponsors who have generously provided funding to permit the committee to undertake a 3-year programme of work.
The industry sponsors are equal partners in this exciting endeavour and the committee and the WSAVA thank them for their support. The sponsorship partners (in alphabetical order) are: Bayer Animal Health, Hills, Merial, MSD Animal Health, Nestle Purina, Novartis Animal Health, Pfizer Animal Health and Waltham.


One Health Organizations:

Organizations Affiliated with the WSAVA One Health Committee:





Zoonotic Infectious Diseases:


Comparative Clinical Medicine

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