Zoonotic infections "threaten us like never before", world-leading doctor to tell vets

27 August 2015

Zoonotic infections threaten us like never before and a One Health, multidisciplinary approach - linking human, animal and environmental health - is needed to tackle the problem, world-leading expert Professor Tom Solomon will tell vets in September.

Speaking at the British Veterinary Association's Members' Day in Edinburgh on 24 September 2015, Professor Solomon, Director of the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool, will argue that by working together vets and medics play a vital role in preventing infections passing from animals to humans through surveillance, disease recognition and improved diagnostics.

A globally-recognised expert on neurology and infectious diseases, Professor Solomon recently headed up part of the UK effort to combat Ebola and bring the disease under control in West Africa. He specialises in research into zoonotic neurological diseases including the mosquito-spread Japanese encephalitis.

In his speech, titled 'This little piggy went to market - "One Health" approaches to emerging zoonotic infections', Professor Solomon will discuss the work of his team on global zoonotic challenges.

Professor Solomon said:

"Zoonotic infections, which spread from animals to humans, threaten us like never before.  The "One Health" concept recognises that human, animal and environmental health are linked, and encourages multidisciplinary approaches to tackle such problems.

"Over the last twenty years our multi-disciplinary research group has been helping reduce the burden of this, and other emerging infections, through better surveillance and disease recognition, improved diagnostics and clinical care, and widespread vaccination."

Professor Solomon's talk will be echoed by John Blackwell in his outgoing speech as BVA President, looking back at a year when veterinary surveillance was paramount in identifying and containing outbreaks of avian influenza in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Mr Blackwell said:

"We are delighted to have Tom Solomon address us at this year's BVA Members' Day. The veterinary contribution to the One Health agenda has never been so important, linking animal and human health and feeding veterinary surveillance captured at a local level into the global efforts to combat zoonotic disease.

Tom's work reaches across the globe and his message about health experts in the human and animal fields working together is critical in our world today."

Professor Solomon's speech is part of a day that celebrates the achievements of the veterinary profession through BVA's prestigious awards ceremony. BVA awards are given in recognition of the various ways its members contribute to the advancement of the profession, and recognises the commitment of students and recent graduates who have undertaken research projects overseas.

BVA Members' Day is kindly sponsored by Bupa. The Association's AGM will be held on the day also, during which the new BVA officer team will be elected with Sean Wensley nominated by BVA Council to become President, Gudrun Ravetz nominated by BVA Council to become Junior Vice President, and John Blackwell to become Senior Vice President.

There will also be an added sprinkle of glitz and glamour as guests are invited to attend the premiere of 'Veterinary View', a programme about and for the veterinary profession made in collaboration with ITN Productions. Attendees can enjoy a 20 minute edited version of the programme and join BVA and some of the film's participants for a drinks reception kindly sponsored by ITN Productions.

Further information and a booking form are available at www.bva.co.uk/membersday. For more information about the awards please visit www.bva.co.uk/About-BVA/BVA-Awards.

BVA Media Office