Vet’s studies unite human, stock health
WA’s animal health is benefiting from the expertise of Albany veterinarian Andrew Larkins, who is undertaking a Masters degree in One Health with the University of Edinburgh.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development veterinary officer has recently returned from a selffunded trip to Rwanda, where he met professionals from around the world across a range of disciplines to discuss One Health issues.
“The One Health approach is based on the idea that human and animal health are interdependent, with 60 per cent of existing human infectious diseases originating in animals,” Dr Larkins said.
“Diseases that can infect both humans and animals are known as ‘zoonoses’ and include diseases such as SARS, Nipah virus, Hendra virus and avian influenza.
“Under the One Health approach, all disciplines work together locally, nationally and globally to improve the health of humans, animals and the environment.”
At a recent Masters of One Health course in Kigali, Rwanda, Dr Larkins joined with other course participants and international experts to discuss issues around antimicrobial resistance, disease surveillance across animals and people, and the association with environmental conservation.
“As a department vet for the Great Southern region, my job is to work with local producers and the livestock industries to make sure they are aware of animal diseases that could have a significant economic impact or could impact human health, how to prevent them and when to call a vet,” Dr Larkins said.
“WA is fortunate to have a strong biosecurity system in place that protects our livestock industries and human health, and which supports collaboration across agencies and disciplines. Our department supports the One Health approach through regular engagement and collaboration with other government agencies, universities and industry researchers on animal health issues.”
Visit www.agric.wa.gov.au and search “one health”, or search “animal health surveillance” on YouTube.
Professor Michael Thrusfield of University of Edinburgh congratulates DPIRD veterinary officer Dr Andrew Larkins on completion of the Global Health Academy summer school for his Masters degree in One Health.