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Medical and vet schools address infectious disease spread

Tuesday 9 September

Medical and vet schools join forces to address infectious disease spread

Infectious diseases such as influenza and those caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria increasingly threaten society’s health. Many originate in animals. These diseases are increasingly linked to contact between humans and animals, intensification and integration of food production, and international travel.

These new threats require a new approach to health research. For this reason, The University of Otago, Massey University and Environmental Science and Research are collaborating to develop a strategic alliance on ‘One Health’ to:

• Better understand infectious disease transmission through a coordinated and holistic approach to research.

• And, ultimately, develop better ways to prevent and treat infections of national and international importance.

‘One Health’ is the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines which recognises that human health and animal welfare and the environment cannot be viewed in isolation. This is particularly relevant in the area of infectious diseases.

A mini-symposium on infectious disease research, with the One Health approach as a key part, is being held on September 9 and 10 in Wellington, at the Massey University campus. The aim is to bring together researchers from multiple institutions around New Zealand who are interested in infectious diseases to develop a One Health alliance and raise awareness of its activities.

Infectious disease expert Professor David Murdoch of the University of Otago, Christchurch, has been a key person in the establishment of a One Health research alliance in New Zealand. He says understanding the interplay between human health, animal health and the environment will be key to understanding and controlling the spread of infectious disease in future.

“This exciting collaboration between researchers across the full spectrum of human and animal health is almost unique globally. The impact of our work is likely to be far-reaching.”

See the Infectious Diseases Research programme: http://www.idrec.ac.nz/idrec-symposium-2012.html


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