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.

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