Pastoralists, Mongolia. Image courtesy of Esther Schelling, Swiss TPH.
One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health Day on November 3rd 2016
It's always nice to meet up with a CABI author at a conference especially when they are giving a talk around a theme dear to CABI‘s heart, namely “One Health”: the concept of working across the interface of animal, plant, human and environment to achieve health & development which is sustainable and fair. CABI has been gathering, managing and generating research information across all these sectors since 1912. We know “its all connected”.
The conference was the RSTMH biennial meeting [Cambridge UK, Sept 12-16th, 2016], and the author in question, Esther Schelling, co-editor of CABI’s book One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches . To read a free e-chapter, use this link.
In One Health beyond early detection and control of zoonoses Esther talked about her long-time project with nomadic pastoralists in Chad and a rift valley fever (RVF) control project in Kenya. She drew attention to the need for:
- more interdisciplinary studies to include an evaluation of One Health working
- involvement of social scientists
- engagement of key stakeholders
And tellingly she provided a cost-benefit analysis to society of controlling zoonoses when the disease is in its animal host before it infects human beings.
Those cost-benefit analyses made a deep impression on the delegates, many of whom were involved in zoonotic neglected tropical diseases. Perhaps for the first time they were appreciating the added benefits and synergies that a transdisciplinary approach between science, society, humanities and medicine could bring.
(Photo: electron micrograph of a blackfly with Onchocerca parasite, credit:USDA)
The idea of sitting in a field and letting blackflies potentially carrying an unpleasant disease bite you sounds like a job best avoided, yet this is the way in which populations of blackflies carrying the river blindness parasite Onchocerca are monitored in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research is on to try and find an alternative and I heard about one study at the ISNTD Bites seminar in London recently. ISNTD Bites brings together multidisciplinary experts to form partnerships and exchange information about neglected vectorborne diseases.
Other than possibly the newly discovered leaping beetles of New Caledonia with a mysterious plant diet, few if any plant pests or diseases make it onto any one of the Time Top of Everything of 2011 lists.
But pests and diseases are busy making their way into their own ‘Top 10’. CABI scientists put together a list in 2011 of some of the world’s worst plant pests, and plant viruses and fungal pathogens are also getting together.
Molecular Plant Pathology has published the results of a survey amongst plant virologists, ranking plant viruses based on scientific/economic importance. The historical perspective, the science, the economics and the latest research are discussed for each of the viruses making it into the ‘Top 10’.
First place is given to Tobacco mosaic virus for its scientific importance based on its role which has extended beyond practical plant pathology (as a virus causing serious losses in a profitable crop) to its use as a model system and in molecular pathology. TMV (just to corroborate its importance) is also the highest ranking plant virus on CAB Abstracts. The database has more than 8000 records specifically on TMV since 1909 (just over 10% of all the records on plant viruses on the database), and is still going strong with about 100 records added each year.
‘Top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology’ is free to download here. Now watch out for the ‘Top 10 fungal pathogens in molecular plant pathology’…coming soon…