One Health: People, Animals, and the Environment

Editors: Ronald M. Atlas1, Stanley Maloy2
Affiliations: 1: University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky; 2: San Diego State University, San Diego, California
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Paperback
Publication Year: 2014

Category: General Interest; Environmental Microbiology

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is a global strategy that represents a paradigm shift in how we must respond to the threat of infectious diseases. Rather than identifying and treating infections in isolation, focuses on a collaborative, holistic surveillance of the environment, animals, and humans to predict an outbreak of disease it happens. This approach accelerates biomedical advances by integrating environmental, veterinary, and human medical science in understanding the development and transmission of infectious diseases.

In , editors Ronald M. Atlas and Stanley Maloy have compiled 20 chapters written by interdisciplinary experts that present core concepts, compelling evidence, successful applications, and the remaining challenges of One Health approaches to thwarting the threat of emerging infectious disease. Topics include

  • the interconnectedness of human and animal pathogens
  • emerging diseases in animals and humans
  • case histories of notable recent zoonotic infections, including West Nile virus, hantavirus, Lyme disease, SARS, and
  • epidemic zoonoses and corresponding environmental factors
  • insight into the mechanisms of microbial evolution toward pathogenicity
  • causes behind the emergence of antibiotic resistance
  • new technologies and approaches for public health disease surveillance
  • political and bureaucratic strategies for promoting the global acceptance of One Health

This book is a valuable resource for physicians, veterinarians, environmental scientists, microbiologists, public health workers and policy makers, and others who want to understand the interdependence of human, animal, and ecosystem health.

“This book provides a comprehensive overview of how the One Health concept needs to bring together human and veterinary and scientific communities to understand the events that underlie the emergence of new infectious challenges. Should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in zoonotic diseases.”

— Christopher A. Hunter, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Ronald M. Atlas, PhD, is Professor of Biology at the University of Louisville and has served as president of the American Society for Microbiology and as chair of the Board of Directors of the One Health Commission.

Stanley Maloy, PhD, is Dean of the College of Sciences and Professor of Microbiology at San Diego State University, and a past president of the American Society for Microbiology.

Book Summary

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 Doody's Review Service

10 February 2015


This is an entry from the American Society for Microbiology into what the editors believe must be a global strategy in responding to the threat of infectious diseases. As such, it is a summary of emerging zoonotic diseases and case histories (West Nile, Hantavirus, and many more) in the context of informed response.


The term used as the book's title is obviously gaining traction, and the book will become a resource for individuals wanting to understand the interdependence of species and the nature of disease.


The editors describe the audience as encompassing physicians, veterinarians, environmental scientists, microbiologists, public health workers, and policy makers, and others who want to understand the interdependence of human, animal and ecosystem health issues. Review of author affiliations reveals a broad spectrum of types of affiliations, including basic science and clinical departments, research institutes, government agencies at every level and across the globe; these affiliations are somewhat a reflection of the readership.


The 20 chapters are written by about 75 well-positioned authors. Major headings include Why One Health (triple threat, conceptual value, human-animal interface, ecological approaches and infectious disease of wildlife); Zoonotic and Environmental Drivers (RNA viruses, rabies, influenza, food-borne disease, cholera and white-nose syndrome); One Health and Antibiotic Resistance (nature); Disease Surveillance (web-basing, genomic and metagenomic approaches and surveillance of wildlife); Making One Health a Reality (the future, crossing bureaucratic boundaries and lessons learned from East Africa).


The book is persuasive in its argument that recognizing interdependence between human health, animal health, and environmental health is critical. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are connected to increased air travel (global village concept), climate change and ecological disturbance, and the role of novel emerging diseases. While no easy task, I believe the editors have nailed it, presenting a book as a blueprint for understanding our way forward.

Doody's Review Service

Reviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD (Navy Environmental Health Center)

Review Date: December 2014

©Doody’s Review Service

 Microbe Magazine

09 February 2015

 Emerging infectious diseases pose challenges for the microbiology, medical, veterinary, environmental health, and public health communities in the United States and around the world. Reviews of the historical experience indicate that no country is free of the risk of disease emergence, and that two-thirds to three-quarters of recent emerging diseases are vectorborne or zoonotic diseases, with the majority of those originating in wildlife. During the 21st century, the drivers of infectious disease emergence will likely intensify, and additional challenges will include climate change, food and water insecurity, and global health security. Addressing these threats will require a multidisciplinary approach as exemplifıed by the One Health concept which emphasizes the interdependence of human health, animal health (both domestic animals and wildlife), and ecosystem health and stresses the need for transdisciplinary collaboration to anticipate and confront these threats.

The purpose of this volume co-edited by two champions of the One Health concept is to provide information on the concept of One Health and evidence of successful applications of the approach, to identify challenges, barriers, and lessons learned, and to identify priority areas for future work. The target audience includes microbiologists as well as veterinarians, physicians, environmental health scientists, ecologists, public health workers, policy makers, and others with an interest in emerging infectious diseases and global health security.

The volume consists of fıve sections on the concept and its rationale (fıve chapters), zoonotic and environmental drivers of disease emergence (six chapters), antimicrobial resistance (one chapter), disease surveillance (four chapters), and operationalizing One Health (four chapters). Fifteen of the twenty are written by multiple authors; all 74 contributors have experience and expertise in their topical area. Two-thirds are based in the United States, but all continents are represented. The vast majority are microbiologists, veterinarians (both domestic animal and wildlife perspectives are represented), environmental health scientists, and ecologists. Only a few physician authors are included.

Many chapters contain useful examples of successful application of One Health interdisciplinary approaches and a summary of important lessons learned (e.g., the importance of mutual trust and commitment to collaboration involving multidisciplinary teams with rotating leadership, transparency,and the need for external funding to ensure sustainability). Tables and color fıgures are clear and add value. All chapters are well-referenced, with citations through 2012 with a few citations from 2013. The index is comprehensive and useful.

From my personal perspective in infectious diseases and public health with a particular interest in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, the chapters on the value of the One Health approach with its emphasis on upstream prevention and early detection and response, the human-animal interface, ecological approaches to zoonoses, RNA viruses, rabies, foodborne salmonellosis, cholera, bat white nose syndrome, antibiotic resistance, surveillance networks and Web-based systems, West Nile virus introduction into the United States, crossing bureaucratic boundaries, and lessons learned from work in East Africa were of particular interest. Readers new to the fıeld will fınd the fırst chapter on the need for a One Health approach and the fınal chapter on the future of One Health of particular value. All of the target audiences will likely fınd multiple chapters to be relevant to their work.

When the time comes to consider a second edition, some suggestions are to consider including a historical perspective on One Health and a compilation of defınitions of the concept that have been proposed. Some of this information currently appears in multiple chapters but could be consolidated into one introductory chapter and eliminated from the others. One or two additional chapters stressing the relevance of One Health to human medicine, one or two on plant diseases and on the marine environment, and one or two on relevant noninfectious disease issues would add value and help make an even stronger case for the increasing importance of the One Health concept in the 21st century. A chapter on research priorities would also be a useful addition.

In summary, I would highly recommend this book to all those with an interest in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, drivers of disease emergence, cross-species transmission, discovery of new microbial agents, and prevention, early detection,and rapid response to pandemic threats. It would be a particularly useful reference in courses in One Health curricula that are being developed in academic institutions around the world.

Microbe Magazine

Microbe—Volume 9, Number 7, 2014, Pages 297 & 298

Reviewer: James M. Hughes, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

Review Date: July 2014

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