Vet’s stud­ies unite hu­man, stock health

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK -

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.

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