University of Cambridge > > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > The role of veterinary medicine in the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases

The role of veterinary medicine in the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases

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Much of the morbidity and mortality resulting from Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) has a major zoonotic component. Zoonotic diseases (zoonoses) are those diseases arising from infections transmitted between vertebrate animals and people. The name “neglected zoonotic diseases or NZDs” for this group of NTDs emphasizes a new approach to dealing with them. This terminology acknowledges that these diseases are not well addressed and recognizes that three key requirements should be met for successful prevention and control of NZDs: (i) that consideration be given to both the needs of communities and their livestock and to pets affected by NZDs; (ii) that integrated approaches be available to cure, prevent and control disease at the human–animal interface; and (iii) that evidence-based advocacy be used to levy resources and commitment for control from the national and international community; The animals may be domesticated (livestock or companion) or wild. NTDs with a zoonotic component – including brucellosis cysticercosis, echinococcosis, foodborne trematodiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and rabies as priority neglected zoonoses – are associated with people living in close proximity to animals. However NZDs as a heterogeneous group of diseases are best defined by the people and communities they mostly affect. As such, the list of these NTDs is open-ended and depends on the location; it may comprise endemic as well as epidemic-prone diseases such as leptospirosis, anthrax and Rift Valley fever. All these zoonotic diseases are also factors in the persistence of poverty in places where income and productivity depend on animal health. Control of these diseases requires interventions that do not threaten the economic security of populations whose livelihoods are dependent on animals. There is a crucial role for veterinarians in this public-health arena.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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