9 October 2017
Prof. Dirk Pfeiffer (Chair Professor of One Health) delivered a presentation titled ‘Interdisciplinarity for More Effective Control and Prevention of Infectious Pathogen Spread in Animal Populations’ at the ‘International Conference on One Health: Connect and Protect’ which took place in Hong Kong on 5 - 6 September 2017.
The objectives of the conference were to promote the concept of One Health to the public and to provide a platform for professional exchange among scholars on One Health research from all over the world.
Prof. Pfeiffer was one of about 18 world-renowned speakers invited to share their expertise and experience on various topics related to One Health.
Investigations into the epidemiology of infectious diseases in animals, including those potentially affecting humans, tend to focus primarily on biological risk factors and may consider environmental factors. As a consequence, the development of interventions typically focuses on technical solutions that aim to modify biological or environmental parameters. Yet, in particular with animal husbandry, a key factor influencing disease risk in the relevant animal population as well as its interface with the human population will be the behaviour of animal keepers, traders, food processors, consumers etc., which in turn is dependent on their knowledge and attitudes. Therefore, the design of most disease control and prevention strategies will involve an element that requires human behaviour change, which means that an understanding of the human behavioural dimension is essential for such a strategy to be effective. As a consequence, research endeavours have to adopt an interdisciplinary approach where relevant expertise from the broad spectrum of social science disciplines is represented together with the natural science disciplines. In this presentation, examples will be presented that illustrate the role of human behaviour in the epidemiology of non-zoonotic and zoonotic infectious pathogens in animal populations.