Addressing emerging and zoonotic diseases

We work on bird flu and other emerging diseases in developing countries, understanding and mapping the risks associated with these.

Agriculture and health are intimately linked. Many diseases have agricultural roots—food-borne diseases, water-associated diseases, many zoonoses, most emerging infectious diseases, and occupational diseases associated with agrifood chains. These diseases create an especially heavy burden for poor countries, with far-reaching impacts.

ILRI views agriculture-associated disease as the dimension of public health shaped by the interaction between humans, animals and agroecoystems. This conceptual approach presents new opportunities for shaping agriculture to improve health outcomes, in both the short and long terms.

Understanding the multiple burdens of disease is a first step in its rational management. As agriculture-associated diseases occur at the interface of human health, animal health, agriculture and ecosystems, addressing them often requires systems-based thinking and multi-disciplinary approaches. These approaches, in turn, require new ways of working and institutional arrangements. Several promising initiatives demonstrate convincing benefits of new ways of working across disciplines, despite the considerable barriers to cooperation.

Read an ILRI policy brief on this livestock development challenge

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