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One Health: competing perspectives in an emerging field

  • P. KINGSLEY (a1) and E. M. TAYLOR (a1)

Over the last decade, One Health has attracted considerable attention from researchers and policymakers. The concept argues that the fields of human, animal and environmental health ought to be more closely integrated. Amid a flurry of conferences, projects and publications, there has been substantial debate over what exactly One Health is and should be. This review summarizes the main trends in this emerging discussion, highlighting the fault lines between different perspectives on One Health. Some have shown that One Health's call to synthesize knowledge from different disciplines can lead to better interventions. Others, however, argue that One Health's challenge to existing practice must go further, and set out a vision that foregrounds the social and economic drivers of disease. Meanwhile, recent examples of One Health in practice highlight the potential but also the challenges of institutionalizing cooperation. We also discuss the promise and pitfalls of using complexity theory to tackle multifaceted problems, and consider how the One Health concept has been brought to bear on other issues, such as emerging new technologies. Ultimately, One Health is an important and worthwhile goal, and requires a debate that clarifies both the competing uses and the political nature of the project.

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* Corresponding author. Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, 4·13 Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15A George Square, EH8 9LD, UK. E-mail:
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