To contribute expertise, literature or as an external reviewer, please contact Dr Cristiana Vagnoni.
Zoonoses are diseases caused by pathogens (viruses, bacteria or parasites) that spread from animals to humans. Public Health England data from 2019 reported 35 zoonotic diseases endemic in the UK. Well-known examples are Lyme disease and hepatitis E, for which there were 1,639 and 1,202 reported cases in 2019, respectively. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers estimate that three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2 viruses are all recent examples of zoonotic viruses. Zoonotic disease outbreaks can have significant health and economic consequences. In the UK, SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 350,100 individuals, caused more than 41,500 deaths and a 20.4% decrease in UK GDP.
The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on biosecurity and zoonoses prevention. Global health experts advocate for a ‘One Health approach’ to zoonoses, built on the understanding of the animal-environment-human interface, and on the integration of human, animal, and environmental health sciences.
This POSTnote will summarise the evidence on a One Health approach to zoonoses prevention, updating the 2008 POSTnote 307 on Wildlife disease and complementing Climate Change and Vector-Borne Disease in Humans in the UK (POSTnote 597, 2019) and Climate change-biodiversity interactions (POSTnote 617, 2020). It will focus on the animal-environment-human interface in both wild and domestic animals, reviewing national and international policy approaches, and lessons learnt from previous epidemics. It will also summarise opportunities and challenges for the UK’s role in global health and biosecurity policy arenas post COVID-19.
The POST Board approved 3 new POSTnotes on 16 September 2020. Topics include childhood obesity, preventing zoonotic diseases, and digital skills for life. Work on these topics will start in January 2021.
A POSTnote on digital skills for life will discuss the digital skills required for everyday life and employment, why parts of the population may lack these skills and which groups are most affected. It will consider the impact of the skills shortage on individuals and the economy as well as strategies to improve the population’s digital skills. Provisional start date: January 2021.
A POSTnote on childhood obesity will summarise the latest trends in children’s diet, obesity and related health conditions and review the impacts of previous policy changes such as the tax on sugar sweetened drinks. It will also examine the factors underlying the growing gap in outcomes for children from the most and least deprived backgrounds. Provisional start date: January 2021.