One Health in Action

Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in People and Animals: A One Health Approach
A veterinarian holding a dog

The use of antimicrobials anywhere – such as in a hospital or on a farm – can contribute to AR, making infections in both people and animals harder to treat. Like humans, animals sometimes carry germs, including AR germs, that can make people sick. People can get sick from these germs by eating contaminated food or by touching animals and their environments. CDC has worked diligently with partners to improve how antimicrobials are used in hospitals and on farms (antimicrobial stewardship), to increase awareness of AR spread and emphasize the importance of working with veterinarians when considering using antimicrobials to care for animals.

Understanding Antibiotic Resistance in Water: A One Health Approach
Dirty water discharged into river

Antibiotic resistance, the ability of pathogens to defeat the drugs designed to kill them, can affect many aspects of daily life. Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used—in people, animals, or crops—they can cause side effects and can lead to antibiotic resistance, making infections harder or impossible to treat. In August 2021, CDC sat down with international experts across One Health to discuss this critical issue and hear more about the important work happening to track antibiotic resistance in water, examine its impact on public health, and take action to address this potential threat. This conversation happened as a part of CDC’s AMR Exchange, a new global webinar series launched in May to engage a broad group of partners, practitioners, and policymakers on antibiotic resistance.

New approaches to address zoonotic diseases in Cambodia
CAVET graduate collected samples from ducks in Takeo live bird market – August 2016

In Cambodia, zoonotic diseases such as avian influenza and rabies underscore the importance of having a multisectoral corps of professionals trained in field epidemiology and outbreak response. To address these many challenges, the Cambodian Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (CAVET) program was established in 2012. This innovative and collaborative program, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency – Biological Threat Reduction Program (DTRA BTRP), is run by the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Cambodian General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP), CDC and DTRA BTRP. The CAVET program aims to strengthen the One Health approach involving human, animal, and environmental health sectors to combat zoonotic diseases such as avian influenza and rabies.

CDC’s One Health Office and Georgia Aquarium Work Together to Investigate Otters with SARS-CoV-2
An otter sitting on a branch

Like many other zoonotic infectious diseases, SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 — does not respect species boundaries. It poses a risk to not only people, but to animals as well. The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest example of a disease emerging as a result of close contact between animals and people. When SARS-CoV-2 broke out among Asian small-clawed otters at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, it was clear that a One Health investigation was needed to learn how the otters became infected and to prevent the virus from spreading further to people and other animals.

AMD and One Health: Responding to a multistate, multidrug-resistant disease outbreak
Illustration thumbnail for AMD and One Health: Responding to a multistate, multidrug-resistant disease outbreak

One Health is an approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of the health of people, animals, and the environment. It involves collaboration across human and animal health, environment, and other relevant sectors. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have developed the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them and are an important One Health issue. Today, advanced molecular detection technologies, such as whole genome sequencing (WGS), allow scientists to study how antibiotic resistance evolves and spreads. WGS also provides important information for responding to disease outbreaks. In a 2015–2018 outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg, WGS revealed that the outbreak in people was connected to contact with dairy calves and calf environments.

China Holds First Stepwise Approach to Rabies Elimination (SARE) Workshop
Provincial-level staff enter responses in the SARE worksheet about their rabies prevention and control program.

In 2015, China – which has the second highest rate of human rabies deaths in the world – pledged to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal to reach zero human deaths from canine rabies by 2030.  To achieve this goal, China’s Center for Disease Control (China CDC) and the US CDC China office and headquarters staff jointly hosted a Stepwise Approach to Rabies Elimination (SARE) Workshop in Beijing in March 2019.

One Health Collaboration in Uzbekistan: Addressing Zoonotic Diseases through Prioritization and Planning
Experts from participating ministries work together to identify criteria used to define the national importance of zoonotic diseases during the OHZDP  Workshop. Photo credit: Tory Seffren

Uzbekistan, a country in Central Asia and part of the former Soviet Union, faces challenges in controlling and preventing zoonotic diseases, which can spread between people and animals. Health risks like brucellosis, which occurs in high numbers in both people and livestock in the region, exist due to inadequate health and veterinary systems, and limited laboratory and surveillance system capacities in the country. The government of Uzbekistan recognizes the threat posed by zoonotic diseases (as the country sees major economic growth in livestock production) and is working to improve the country’s capacity to prevent, control, detect, and treat them.

Working Together for One Health
A man with his dog

One Health is the idea that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. Learn why One Health is important and how, by working together, we can achieve the best health for everyone.

Influenza and Zoonoses Education among Youth in Agriculture
Cover art for Influenza and Zoonoses Education among Youth in Agriculture

In 2011, when an outbreak of variant virus infections in people was linked to exposure to pigs at agricultural fairs, public health officials quickly recognized the need to support states in using a One Health approach to respond effectively to novel influenza A and other zoonotic disease outbreaks in rural areas.

Crowdsourcing to Report and Respond to Zoonotic Diseases
Local farmers receive training on how to use the mobile app.

In Thailand, farmers, local health volunteers, and human and animal health officers are using mobile technology to report zoonotic diseases that pose a serious threat to the health of people and animals.

Understanding Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in Kazakhstan
Understanding Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in Kazakhstan

Between 2000 and 2013, the Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan reported the second highest number of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) illnesses in people, out of all the regions in the country. Although outbreaks of CCHF happen regularly in Kazakhstan, public health officials wanted to understand why this particular region had a higher number of cases.

The Story of the Rift Valley Fever Virus Vaccine Preventing Disease in Humans and Livestock
Person wearing protective equipment examining a sheep

In late 1997, a disease outbreak began in East Africa. In three months, 90,000 people became sick and almost 500 people died. Many animals in the region also died, causing economic difficulties for the people who relied on these animals for milk, meat, and as a trading commodity.

Poisoned Sea Otters in California
Sea Otter swimming on his back in water

California scientists and veterinarians found themselves in the middle of a mystery in 2007. Over the span of a year, 11 dead or dying sea otters had been found around Monterey Bay, California.

Lead Poisoning Investigation in Northern Nigeria
group of children sitting outside

In early 2010, ducks began to disappear in northern Nigeria. People would later report that they noticed there were fewer ducks in the area, but no one thought it was important at the time.
However, a few months later in May 2010, public health officials learned that hundreds of children had become sick in northern Nigeria