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Veterinary public health sessions

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Monday 6 April

One Health is a unifying concept yet its disciplines often speak different languages and a Babel fish for interdisciplinary translation does not exist. For group B streptococcus (GBS) or Streptococcus agalactiae, nomenclature differences are such that veterinarians and medics do not even realize it is a single species. In this presentation, transmission of GBS within and between species is discussed, as well as the need for transmission of ideas between disciplines involved in understanding and control of GBS in people, cattle, fishes and wildlife.

As a consequence of the interconnected effects of globalization, economic development, environmental change and modern society’s changing lifestyle expectations, we are now experiencing very rapid change in eco-social systems at a global scale. This has also led to the emergence of highly complex risk environments. Food production is an example of this development, which has resulted in the global emergence of infectious diseases with major societal impact, such as avian influenza and more recently African swine fever.

Modernisation of meat inspection is on the agenda in EU and elsewhere in the world. For each of the palpation and incisions made as part of the traditional inspection of swine, a risk assessment was made in Denmark, illustrating what the effect would be of omitting the action. This enabled a gradual change from traditional to visual-only inspection in line with the acceptance of equivalence of important international, trade partners.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a group of zoonotic bacteria that may cause significant human disease during food-borne outbreaks of infection. Cattle and sheep are the main STEC reservoir where they are intermittently shed from the ruminant host without any signs or obvious clinical disease. Previous research undertaken in New Zealand investigating the asymptomatic carriage and excretion of STEC by ruminants and the significant public health, environmental and economic concern will be summarised.

New Zealand (NZ) has a long-running Campylobacter infection epidemic with contaminated fresh chicken meat the major source. This is both the highest impact zoonosis and largest food safety problem in this country. Adding to this problem is the recent rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance in these Campylobacter infections acquired from locally produced poultry. NZ Campylobacter infection rates halved in 2008 following the introduction of regulatory limits on allowable contamination levels in fresh poultry, with large health and economic benefit. In the following decade, disease rates have not declined further, suggesting that additional interventions are needed to reduce this infection. This presentation will summarise lessons that can be learned from the initial success that followed the strong regulatory response to this foodborne problem. It will then consider the subsequent failure to respond effectively to this major food safety challenge and what additional measures should be taken to control this avoidable public health hazard.


Tuesday 7 April

Leptospirosis is a globally important multi-host, multi-pathogen zoonosis with over 1 million cases and 60,000 deaths annually. Humans are infected through contact with urine from infected mammals including wildlife, rodents, farmed species and pets. Despite extensive nationwide intervention measures, leptospirosis remains an unacceptable burden on New Zealanders particularly those living in rural communities and on Māori. Farmers and meat-workers remain most at risk and key intervention strategies for these occupations are the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and animal vaccination. I will present our work on leptospirosis at the human-animal interface with focus on our current case-control study, worker insurance for leptospirosis, and associations with severe outcomes.

In many parts of the world, Salmonella in swine is ascribed to a non-negligible number of human cases. In this presentation, the experience related to the development of the Danish surveillance-and-control programme will be presented. In the first phase of the program, focus was on pre-harvest interventions. However, detailed studies showed that it was more cost-effective to focus on hygiene during slaughter. Therefore, today focus is on the post-harvest side.

The development of control methods for avian influenza typically results in technical solutions that aim to modify biological parameters. Yet, a key factor influencing avian influenza risk in the relevant animal population as well as at its interface with the human population will be human behaviour along the poultry value chain, indicating the need for adopting an interdisciplinary approach to avian influenza research.

The WHO, FAO and OIE speak with one voice to minimize the emergence and spread of AMR yet quantification of the relative contribution of humans and animals to AMR problems is challenging. Moreover, many voices are not heard in AMR discussions, particularly in low and middle-income countries, and many complexities of the system are poorly understood from disciplinary perspectives. Based on AMR research in Tanzania, (limits to) the evidence of AMR as a One Health problem will be explored.

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.

The role of Veterinary Services in animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health across terrestrial and aquatic production sectors is critical to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Veterinary Services in many OIE member countries face important capacity challenges, requiring the support of international organisations and development partners. On top of this current state, they face uncertainties, that can be considered either threats or opportunities, associated with globalization of world trade, environmental sustainability, and climate change. The OIE cooperates with other international organisations to understand and support the development and adaptions of Veterinary Services, and this presentation will use several examples to illustrate our work.

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.

Climate change has been in the public eye for a long time now, with more cries for urgent action in the past couple of years, especially from a younger generation. This presentation will give a veterinary students’ perspective on the two main aspects of dealing with climate change: living with higher temperatures and all that comes with it (e.g., diseases), and the changes that are necessary to lower emissions (e.g. livestock management).

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.

This presentation will cover how smart investment by businesses to mitigate the impact of climate change not only reduces risk but can also drive more sustainable, and ultimately better, outcomes for the country.

7th WVA Global One Health Summit with high-level support of FAO, OIE and WHO
Theme: Climate change and its future impact on disease burdens, food security, and the economy.


Wednesday 8 April

In Denmark, the combat against development of antimicrobial (AM) resistance began two decades ago. Lessons learnt regarding use of AM in livestock will be presented during the presentation. These among others include the necessity to monitor the consumption in detail, the need to have on-farm permit levels as well as having restrictions on use of selected AM. The current program is a result of collaboration between academia, industry and authorities.

The WHO has identified antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the most significant current and future threats to global human health. The use of antimicrobials in veterinary science presents some risk for development of resistance in human pathogens, but until recently, it has been difficult to quantify this risk. Data will be presented confirming rates of AMR in animals in Australasia are among the lowest in the world and the reasons for these comparatively low rates will be explored.

The One Health concept is unifying and inspiring. The most rewarding One Health approach is considered to be one that moves beyond the global pandemic EID scope to cover endemic diseases of importance and broader non-infectious health, well-being and sustainability issues. In Australia, there are a range of One Health challenges involving endemic diseases such as Hendra virus, Q fever and broader issues including antimicrobial resistance. Nigel’s presentation will build on recent research and other activities in Q fever and other endemic diseases to highlight One Health issues and achievements.

This presentation will describe how recent developments in whole genome sequencing, combined with new models and a One Health Approach, is revolutionising our approach to pathogen source attribution. Understanding the sources and pathways of infection with food and waterborne pathogens is essential for guiding policy and decision making in the face of outbreaks and for reducing high rates of sporadic disease.

The advent of next-generation sequencing is continuing to unlock the mysteries of the host’s autochthonous microbiota and its importance to healthy immune, brain and reproductive function. This presentation will focus on recent developments in the field of significance to livestock health, welfare and optimal production in, as well as crystal ball gazing into the livestock facilities of the future.

New Zealand has successfully excluded and eliminated a range of zoonotic diseases that remain a public health problem in many other countries. These diseases include those that have been successfully excluded (notably Q fever); those that have been eliminated through specific programmes aimed at animal reservoirs (notably brucellosis in 1989 and hydatids in 2002); and those where control programmes have reduced rates but where complete elimination is difficult to achieve (notably leptospirosis and bovine tuberculosis). Contributing factors to these successes include New Zealand’s geographic isolation, robust biosecurity measures for agricultural hazards, and well-coordinated veterinary sector with an established history of delivering centrally coordinated vertically organised disease control programmes. Given the increasing global pressures towards emerging infectious diseases, it is useful to reflect on the lessons that can be learned from these successes and also the limits of what can expected from disease control and elimination programmes.

One Health philosophy is particularly pertinent in Aotearoa-New Zealand because of the country’s relatively isolated island ecosystem, economic reliance on agriculture and its intensification, and existing indigenous worldview that emphasises holism and interconnectivity between humans, animals and the environment. The One Health Aotearoa (OHA) alliance was established to address a growing number of health challenges such as antimicrobial resistance, declining freshwater quality, emerging infectious diseases, food safety challenges, and environmental disruption.

Research is increasingly expected to be impactful, not just in the sense of publications but in terms of its impact on society. Changes in veterinary public health policy are a popular route to impact for food safety research but how does one reconcile scientific uncertainty with the expectation of societal impact? Difficulties in translation of interdisciplinary research data into policy will be illustrated, using non-typhoidal Salmonella, a foodborne and potentially zoonotic pathogen, as an exemplar.