Is there a need for the term One Health?

21 Mar 2020

Smith, G. R.

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I sympathise with John Cooper’s mild irritation by the over-use of the term One Health for what used to be called comparative medicine (VR, 29 February 2020, vol 186, p 255).

In 1965, when I joined the staff of the then new Nuffield Institute of Comparative Medicine in London (which later became part of the ZSL Institute of Zoology) I remember much debate about what should and should not be regarded as comparative medicine. However, because the term had been in frequent use for many years, most people knew what it meant. The fairly recently popularised term One Health, on the other hand, has no obvious meaning unless it is accompanied by an explanation.

There can be no doubt about the value of research on diseases of animals and man and the environmental aspects thereof – but the quality of such research is of much greater importance than how...