Neglected Zoonotic Diseases-The Long and Winding Road to Advocacy

Hayley E Mableson, Anna Okello, Kim Picozzi, Susan Christina Welburn

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Years of advocacy for the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have focused the world's attention on these diseases of the poor, resulting most recently in the 2012 "London Declaration" and the recent World Health Assembly Resolution WHA66.12 on NTDs in May 2013. Control of the endemic neglected zoonotic diseases (NZDs) would benefit from a similar campaign, which needs the support of a global community.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The resolutions from all 66 World Health Assembly (WHA) meetings held between 1948 and 2013 were examined to determine how many contain a specific focus on any of the following eight NZDs as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO): anthrax, bovine tuberculosis (TB), brucellosis, Taenia solium cysticercosis, cystic echinococcosis (hydatidosis), leishmaniasis, rabies, and zoonotic human African trypanosomiasis (HAT or sleeping sickness). Twenty-one resolutions adopted in the 16 assemblies between 1948 and 2013 targeted one or more of these eight NZDs, representing 4% of the total resolutions on infectious diseases passed to date. The 2013 adoption of Resolution WHA66.12 targeting all 17 NTDs marks a change in approach by the WHA. Whereas previous resolutions have targeted the NTDs as separate entities, the new approach of the combined resolution will help increase the overall momentum to target these ancient diseases as coendemic clusters in endemic countries. However, three major NZDs remain outside this recent resolution: anthrax, brucellosis, and bovine TB.

CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: The recent adoption of a specific resolution at the WHA in 2013 that emphasises a One Health approach for the successful control of 17 NTDs is a major development in advocacy. However, recognition of the importance of three major NZDs to public health in endemic countries-anthrax, brucellosis, and bovine tuberculosis-is still lacking despite being prioritised by the WHA as early as the 1950s. Global advocacy for control of the NZDs as a whole would similarly benefit from adoption of a One Health approach as is promoted for the NTDs under WHA66.12.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2800
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume8
Issue number6
Early online date5 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2014

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