Converging issues in veterinary and public health. (Conference Summary).More than 20 key officials from the American Veterinary Medical Association American Veterinary Medical Association
a nonprofit, professional organization of veterinarians in the USA, whose stated objective is to advance the science and art of veterinary medicine, including its relationship to public health and agriculture. and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges met with staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agency of the U.S. Public Health Service since 1973, with headquarters in Atlanta; it was established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center. (CDC See Control Data, century date change and Back Orifice.
CDC - Control Data Corporation ) December 5-6, 2002, to discuss the increasing convergence of issues confronting human and animal health. Among the officials in attendance were the deans from more than half of all U.S. veterinary schools.
The meeting goals were to increase the veterinary community's understanding of CDC programs and the varied roles played by veterinarians Veterinarians and veterinary surgeons (vets) are medical professionals who operate exclusively on animals. Well-known and notable veterinarians include:
The daily interactions of humans, animals, and the environment have a dramatic impact on public health. Current and evolving health threats include infections transmitted through animals, insects, food, and water, as well as illnesses resulting from environmental toxins, the misuse of antibiotics, and bioterrorism. Factors affecting these threats include the international movement of people, animals, and animal products; globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation and management of the complex food and fiber system; climate and other environmental changes, including those affecting wildlife populations and their interactions; and national and global security. Effectively meeting these challenges requires strong links between human and animal health clinicians, researchers, laboratorians, and public health officials.
Specific topics presented included West Nile virus West Nile virus, microorganism and the infection resulting from it, which typically produces no symptoms or a flulike condition. The virus is a flavivirus and is related to a number of viruses that cause encephalitis. and other vectorborne diseases, emerging viral and parasitic zoonoses Zoonoses
Infections of humans caused by the transmission of disease agents that naturally live in animals. People become infected when they unwittingly intrude into the life cycle of the disease agent and become unnatural hosts. , food safety, antimicrobial resistance, CDC's role in the 2001 anthrax anthrax (ăn`thrăks), acute infectious disease of animals that can be secondarily transmitted to humans. It is caused by a bacterium (Bacillus anthracis investigations, and the agency's bioterrorism preparedness and response program. Presentations highlighted public health issues such as the need to upgrade containment facilities and to define optimal antibiotic use for farm animals. Efforts needed to further protect the health of humans, companion animals, zoo and exotic animals, and wildlife were also discussed. These efforts include improving strategies to reduce the occurrence of intestinal parasites in pets and increasing surveillance among imported animals and products to recognize infections not previously seen in the United States.
Several presenters emphasized the importance of surveillance systems in enabling prompt recognition of disease occurrences. Examples included two food safety surveillance programs: FoodNet, a collaborative project involving nine states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CDC, and the Food and Drug Administration; and PulseNet, a national and international network of public health laboratories that subtype (programming) subtype - If S is a subtype of T then an expression of type S may be used anywhere that one of type T can and an implicit type conversion will be applied to convert it to type T. foodborne bacteria to enable rapid comparison of DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. patterns through an electronic database. Other surveillance systems discussed included the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring Systems and the Laboratory Response Network (LRN LRN Linux.ru.net (website)
LRN Laboratory Response Network
LRN Location Routing Number
LRN Local Routing Number
LRN Learning Resource iNterchange (Microsoft)
LRN Lead Round Nose ). LRN is a tiered system of laboratories with varying diagnostic capabilities, ranging from confirmatory analysis to specialized identification of agents potentially used in a bioterrorist attack. The network is supported through funding designated for bioterrorism preparedness and response. Meeting participants discussed the need to increase participation of veterinary clinicians and diagnosticians in these surveillance systems, especially LRN, noting that 80% of the agents classified as "category A" (i.e., those posing a major risk to national security because they can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person, result in high death rates, and require special efforts to ensure preparedness) are zoonotic Zoonotic
A disease which can be spread from animals to humans.
Mentioned in: Zoonosis . Strategies discussed at the conference toward this end included adding veterinary and animal health laboratories to LRN as well as establishing a similar network among such laboratories to collect more comprehensive data on the occurrence of infections affecting veterinary and human health.
CDC veterinarians participating in the meeting described their experiences as well as the roles of other agency veterinarians. Many CDC veterinarians are epidemiologists who joined the agency as officers in the Epidemic Intelligence Service The Epidemic Intelligence Service is a program of the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Established in 1951 due to biological warfare concerns arising from the Korean War, it has become a hands-on two-year postgraduate training program in epidemiology, with (EIS (1) (Executive Information System) An information system that consolidates and summarizes ongoing transactions within the organization. It provides top management with all the information it requires at all times from internal and external sources. ), CDC's 2-year, hands-on comprehensive epidemiology and public health training program. Of the approximately 75 veterinarians who work at CDC, nearly half are in the National Center for Infectious Diseases, where they work in laboratory animal research as well as epidemiology. Discussions at the meeting described the critical roles played by veterinarians at the local, state, and national levels in responding to the recent West Nile virus outbreaks. Approximately 42 states currently have state public health veterinarians.
Many discussions focused on ways to increase the number of veterinarians in public health clinical and laboratory programs. Several CDC veterinarians cited classes in herd health as stimulating their interest toward public health careers. At the initial level, efforts are needed to ensure that veterinary students are aware of these career opportunities early in their education. Potential strategies include offering extemships and public health rotations, such as at CDC or at local and state health departments, as part of veterinary medical school training courses and offering combined degrees in veterinary medicine and public health (i.e., DVM/MPH)--a course of study already offered by several veterinary colleges. Other innovative public health programs that could be incorporated by veterinary medical colleges include studies in food safety, environmental toxicology, healthy ecosystems, international diseases, and population medicine.
More veterinary EIS Officers are also needed. Approximately one third of veterinarians applying to EIS are accepted, essentially the same acceptance rate as for other professions. Increased numbers of qualified veterinary applicants would therefore translate into higher numbers of accepted veterinarians. Similarly, efforts are needed to increase the number of veterinarians and veterinary students applying for other training programs at CDC such as the Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Fellowships. Through this program, bachelor's or master's level scientists are recruited for 1-year assignments and postdoctoral level scientists for 2-year assignments at state, local, and CDC public health laboratories. More veterinary applicants are also needed for other training programs offered by CDC, such as the elective in epidemiology for senior medical and veterinary students--a 6- to 8-week introductory course in preventive medicine preventive medicine, branch of medicine dealing with the prevention of disease and the maintenance of good health practices. Until recently preventive medicine was largely the domain of the U.S. , public health, and applied epidemiology.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published its findings from a study group on the future of veterinary public health (WHO Technical Report Series 907). The report describes the increasing emergence and reemergence of zoonotic diseases Zoonotic diseases
Diseases caused by infectious agents that can be transmitted between (or are shared by) animals and humans. This can include transmission through the bite of an insect, such as a mosquito.
Mentioned in: West Nile Virus in the 1980s and 1990s and their importance for global public health (1).
To effectively meet these challenges, human and animal health issues must be merged into a new public health agenda. Creating and responding to such an agenda depends on strong interactions between the human and veterinary clinical, laboratory, and public health professional organizations. These interactions are essential for developing new and strengthening existing partnerships necessary for implementing effective public health programs. This meeting was a step toward this goal.
(1.) World Health Organization. Future trends in veterinary public health: report of a WHO study group. (Technical report series, No. 907). Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. : The Organization; 2002.
Address for correspondence: Lonnie J. King, Dean, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine The Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 1910 and awards about 100 DVM degrees each year. It is the only veterinary college in Michigan. It is comprised of the departments of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, , G100 Vet Med Center, East Lansing, Michigan East Lansing is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located directly east of Lansing, Michigan, the state's capital. Most of the city is within Ingham County, though a small portion lies in Clinton County. , USA 48824-1314; fax: 517-432-1037; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lonnie King * and Rima Khabbaz ([dagger])
* Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; and ([dagger]) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA