Since the Neolithic period, humans have domesticated herbivores to have food readily at hand. The cohabitation with animals brought various advantages that drastically changed the human lifestyle but simultaneously led to the emergence of new epidemics. The majority of human pathogens known so far are zoonotic diseases and the development of both agricultural practices and human activities have provided new dynamics for transmission. This article provides a general overview of some factors that influence the epidemic potential of a zoonotic disease, Q fever. As an example of a disease where the interaction between the environment, animal (domestic or wildlife) and human populations determines the likelihood of the epidemic potential, the management of infection due to the Q fever agent, Coxiella burnetii, provides an interesting model for the application of the holistic One Health approach.
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