Jakob Zinsstag

Jakob Zinsstag

Professor of Epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Location Basel, Switzerland


  • Thank you Nina, yes indeed the StAR programm reports increasingly on One Health aspects of antimicrobial resistance surveillance.

  • dear Learners, welcome to week 6 of the One Health online course directly from the 7th World One Health Congress opening ceremony in Singapore. We just heard Halima Yacob, the president of Singapore, Tedros Gebreyesus, the director general of WHO und currently Monique Eloit, the director of the World Organization of One Health is speaking. I wish you a good...

  • Thank you Nina and Lauren, yes transmitters would be an option. Today there are many new technologies emerging, first of all mobile comunication, microchips and drones. We have to continuously review latest technologies.

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear Learners,
    I have not seen many comments from you this week. I hope this was not too difficult? One Health makes no concessions on disciplinary excellence, every discipline must contribute its best science. In addition we need to show an incremental benefit of working closer together. We have more and more examples that support it.

  • Thank you Bonnies, this is indeed a sad reality. But there are signs of improvement. Many countries develop One Health platforms, also low income countries.

  • Yes, Nina, we can estimate the human disease incidence from exposure to animals. In this way we can also find out the best ways to intervene.

  • Yes, Milena, the modelling of the animal-human disease transmission provides a lot of insights on the zoonotic potential and the best ways to intervene.

  • Yes, Nina, the growth rate stabilizes. Mathematically the growth rate can be interpreted as the dominant Eigenvalue of the projection matrix.

  • dear Learners, welcome to the second week of the course. Our experiences with the mobile pastoralists in Chad were inspiring for the understanding of the interconnection of humans and animals but also for new solutions we did not imagine earlier.

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear Learners, thank you for this first week of participation. We hope you enjoyed the learning and the content. We move now more into the One Health methods part. One Health has a quantitative side, because we have to prove that cooperation leads to measurable benefits. But don't worry, if you are not sufficiently familiar with the mathematics, you can jump...

  • Dear Learners, Thank you for your answers. Indeed the proposed example shows very little interactions between government authorities. However for future closer cooperation, it will be important that institutional arrangements are made how different ministries work closer together. This is currently done in many countries.

  • Dear Learners,
    Thank you for your comments. Animal ethics is a very important component of One Health and not easy to address. There are many dilemmas that have to be addressed in a contextual way. This means the human-animal relationship has to be seen in a specific situation. For example pastoralists in dry areas could not survive without keeping animals....

  • Dear Susan, thank you for your comment. Yes, indeed, the preferences of humans for certain animals are not always easy to explain. Do they have an irrational component?

  • Dear Learners, thank you for your contributions on interview, I held with Daniela and Ibrahim. Your contributions enrich what has been said in our interview. Many thanks.

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear Learners, many thanks for your contributions. They show that your preferences are diverse. They are most likely shaped by your social, cultural and religious background. Here it is important that we recognize the highly diverse human-animal relationship. All the best and thank you for sharing

  • Thank you dear Amit, this is very interesting. The wildlife - animal interface is in the centre of interest with regard to emerging zoonoses. Do you address the level of biodiversity of the wildlife?

  • Dear Learners,
    In the name of all educators, welcome to the 8th run of the One Health online course. Up to now, cumulatively, more than 10'000 learners have registered to our course. This is a huge leverage of mutual learning on One Health worldwide. Altogether, the contributions of you learners outweighs what we are teaching you in terms of information and...

  • Dear Learners, thank you again for your participation. We hope the new knowledge will help you in your future work. With best regards, Jakob

  • Dear Wondimu, for a certificate of achievement from Futurelearn, you should upgrade. We cannot give certificates from our side. All the best

  • Dear Learners, Thank you to all of you for actively participating in the course and for all your contributions which enriched the mutual learning. With all best wishes for the future. Yours

  • Dear all, I can open it on my computer. I will flag the problem.

  • @RosC Dear RosC, you are right, we put emphasis on the interventions at the root of the reservoir but awareness and education are also very important, thought not directly lead to the elimination of the disease

  • Thank you Dumakude

  • Thank you again for all your contributions, they show the reality on the ground.

  • Dear Ele, we don't know, but I believe there is a lack of understanding of overall societal benefits of an intervention in the reservoir of the transmission.

  • Dear Learners,
    Thank your for your interesting additional examples, which greatly complement our knowldege.

  • Dear Learners, thank you for these examples that show that AMR is attracting integrated thinking and concerted approaches more and more.

  • Dear Dumakude, please see my comment below from 3 November. I appears that cross-protection between SARS-CoV-2 and Bovine Corona viruses is weaker than anticipated. Hence, your suggestions would probably not help much.

  • Dear Dumakude, rabies is surely a compelling argument. Others are antimicrobial resistance and vector borne diseases.

  • Dear Ellen, animals haveing tuberculosis are never treated with antibiotics. They are only removed from the herd and culled. Is this what you wanted to know?

  • This is a very important point Benedikta and part of what we call conflict sensitive research practice. Here is a link from the Swiss Academies of Natural Sciences: https://scnat.ch/en/uuid/i/aba6e298-4e7a-5c89-a2f2-46cd04264ff1-Guidelines_to_Conflict_Sensitive_Research

  • Dear Learners, thank you for all your interesting ideas on the above questions. It shows you how innovation can come out of necessity and scarcity. All the best.

  • @BenediktaSpannringSalzgeber This is why we need the participatory transdisciplinary processes, that we pursue also in Ethiopia

  • Yes Sera, it is the depicted framework.

  • Fletcher, J., Franza, D. and LeClerc, J.E. (2009) Healthy plants: necessary for a balanced ‘One Health’ concept.
    Veterinaria Italiana 45(1), 79–95.

  • Dear Sera,
    Here are some references from chapter 22 of the first edition of our text book:
    Anon. (2010) Integrated Pest Management and Crop Health – bringing together sustainable agroecosystems
    and people’s health. White Paper. SP-IPM Secretariat, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, 17 pp.

    Bentley, J.W., Boa, E.,...

  • Your are welcome, Ele

  • Dear Learners, it was early 2020 when we wrote this step and today we know that even close phylogenetic neighbourhood of different strains may not lead necessarily to strong immunological cross-reactivity. Nevertheless, Covid-19 is a great example that it makes sense to look at it from a One Health perspective.

  • Dear Christoph, thank you. I was not aware that the veterinarians can not sign off their own serology tests. This is an issue.

  • Thank you Ele, again a very good example, I was not aware of.

  • Dear Benedikta and Ele, the vaccinations were very well accepted in Chad for livestock and children. The joint campaign resulted from a consensus in a participatory stakeholder meeting with authorities and communities. In turn, in Mali, Tuareg communities stated that the knew that vaccines were effective but the hesitated because they did not have the...

  • Dear Ele, your are right. There is a lot of practical knowledge among clinicians that is not documented by academic medicine in human and veterinary medicine.

  • Dear learners, in our research we try to engage between scientists and non-academic actors in society and authorities. In this way we bring together academic and practical knowledge. We experience huge benefits from such collaborations in co-producing transformational knowledge for societal problem solving.

  • Yes, it makes sense to first just listen to people, observe animals and the environment to obtain a kind of an "atmospheric" understanding of the context, prior to getting in any other way of doing research.

  • @CarlottaPasetto thank you Carlotta for your excellent example. In a multilanguage context it is very important to listen well and translate very carefully. This is actually an area of our current research in transdisciplinary methods.

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Thank you for all your valuable contributions in this week.

  • Dear all, as Anne pointed out these are delicate questions that need participatory approaches to address them in a culturally sensitive manner. We discuss this later on when we discuss transdisciplinary approaches.

  • Dear Learners, thank you again for your diverse and informative contributions.

  • Thank you Dumakude, you are quite right. This is why we have to engage with all actors, consumers, farmers, traders, authorities to find locally adapted solutions togehter. You will see this in the forthcoming sections on transdisciplinary approaches in One Health

  • Dear Learners, I am very impressed by your important in interesting contributions. Clearly food safety is a very important topic for One Health and has to be dealt adequately to protect consumers.

  • @EllenSchmitt Dear Ellen, you are right, AMR is a huge issue that One Health must address. We proposed integrated studies looking at AMR in humans, animals and the environment to several funding bodies but our proposals were rejected.

  • Thank you Ele, there is a good reason for pasteurizing milk, consumer safety and longer shelf life.

  • @BenediktaSpannringSalzgeber Thank you Benedikta, your example shows how important nutrition is underlying health in general.

  • Dear Lujain, you are right. When using animals in health care, we want to make sure that they don't suffer from it and even try that they have a benefit. Maybe Karin can make further comments.

  • Yes, we work alot on the economics of One Health

  • Thank you Catriona, this is a very good example that we have to relate different health problems. The use of organophosphates for ectoparasite control in sheep and its effect on human health is a good example for a non-communicable illness that has to be addressed through a One Health approach.

  • Very good questions Dumakude: 1. The threshold vaccination level is 1-1/R0. Hence it depends on how easy the pathogen is transmitted. For measles R0 is 12-14, to interrrupt transmission of measles you need to vaccinate >96% of the susceptible population. 2. We should distinguish the basic reproductive number R0, which is the reproductive number when the...

  • Dumakude, very good, if you divide the absolute numbers in each compartment with the total number of animals, then you can very well work with fractions.

  • Dear Taishi Kayano, you can check for Duncan Shabb, Livestock Sciences 2013, Vol. 157 pages 280-288, A mathematical model of Mongolian livestock populations.

  • Thank you Dumakude, yes indeed the demographic composition of the human populations falling ill with brucellosis may explaind the type of transmission as occupational or as consumer exposure.

  • Dear Dumakude, many thanks for your question. Strictly speaking, the examples you rise are in the realm of eco-system approaches to health of which One Health is part of it. For this reason we point out that One Health wants to sustain ecosystem services too, which belong to the issues you raise. Does this help?

  • Dear Barbara, I am not sure if I got your point right. The quiz concentrates more on One Health research approaches, less on implementation. Is this what you mean?

  • @IovannaLesniewski Dear Iovanna, thank you for your question. With One Health, we want to include also the Environment. While working on better health for humans and animals we don't want to destroy the environment, for example through the use of harmful chemicals. Hence we add this third incremental benefit of a One Health approach that we want to sustain...

  • Dear Julia, thank you for your comment. We define One Health as incremental benefit of a closer cooperation of human and animal health and related disciplines. This incremental benefit can manifest itself in terms of better health of humans and animals and/or financial savings and sustained environmental services. If we cannot show any benefit of a closer...

  • Thank you Taishi, yes the population will have quadrupled in 21 years. The dominant Eigenvalue of the Projection matrix is the growth rate of the population. In this example it is 6%, the Eigenvalue is 1.06.

  • Thank you Alexander, I understand your position but if we want to convince decision makers on the benefits of a closer cooperation with must be quantitative and come up with monetary savings.

  • you are right Alexander to put Brucellosis in perspective, livestock is important for the livelihoods of a large fraction of the population in Kyrgyzstand, therefore brucellosis control is very important and highly profitable from a societal point of view: F. Roth et al., "Human health benefits from livestock vaccination for brucellosis: case study,"...

  • Yes, Emmanuel, we do this most of the time.

  • Yes, people are out of work if they get clinical brucellosis. Often they have to hire other people to do their work, during their illness.

  • Thank you Zarah, did you find a correlation between the two?

  • Thank you Catriona, again a very good example.

  • Dear Christoph, I waited for this question. Yes, you are right. We have to be careful to consider animal welfare as much as possible.

  • This is a very impressive example, thank you

  • Dear Alexander, there might be a co-evolutionary component of mutual adaptation. But influenza is unpredictable because of the potential of genetic rearrangement.

  • Thank you Catriona, this is a wonderful example

  • You are right, I mentioned it verbally but it is missing in the figure

  • @DumakudeMpofu Thank you Dumakude, this is a very nice example of involving humans, animals and the ecosystem, as Alexander proposes above.

  • Yes, Alexander, of course, this is also broadly included in our book. But let us start with human and animal health. It is already difficult enough to cooperate between these sectors as you have seen in the former step. But of course we need to expand this cooperation to the environment.

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear Learners, thank you for sharing your experiences on shortfalls of the cooperation of human and animal health. As reasons you mention egocentrism, protectionism, and budgetary reasons. These reasons apply also to other institutions and may be rather attributable to human nature. I am always shocked if we deal with diseases that kill people or make them...

  • @DeepakSharma Dear Deepak, most of the countries have lists of zoonoses that are under surveillance.

  • Dear Learners, welcome to week two of the course. Thank you for your informative contributions. They show a) One Health is relatively poorly operationalized worldwide, b) The location of the ministries in charge of animals reflect the norms and values underlying the perception of animals and c) some of you mention the central governement level, also often the...

  • Thank you Deepak, One Health is part of an ecosystems approach to health. This thorougly described in our book. The principle of incremental benefit of cooperation remains the same. Yours Jakob

  • Dear Benedikta, many thanks for your contribution. It shows how our relationship to animals is shaped by our values and norms. It is very important to recognize this when we want to do One Health work.

  • Dear Emmanuel, I fully agree. One Health goes way beyond just human and animal health. I includes basically any science that is related to health in the broadest sense. You can see this in the content list of our textbook.

  • Thank you for your contributions. All of you refer to national governments. Do you know what is going on at the level of the international organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Environmental Program?

  • You are right, there is littel overlap in most public and animal health systems. More and more countries start to create linkages through new policies and laws to facilitate the cooperation.

  • Wow, this sounds like a research agenda. Please interact with each other on your priorities and reasons behind. I will come back to this thread.

  • Beyond the diversity of the human and animal relationship, we realize that it is in the very interest of humans to sustain intact ecosystems and high quality animal welfare.

  • Thank you for your comments, we learn from them that animals play an important role in human life beyond food and companionship. They are part of social practices and community life.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences. They reflect your background, how you grew up and what you experienced yourself with animals. They reflect different cultural backgrounds.

  • Dear Learners, thank you for your diverse contributions. Bear in mind that all animals that you are afraid of or which you perceive as a nuisance play an role in an ecosystem. There is a delicate balance between predators and preys and even animals we consider not important can be important for environmental services. Hence we have every interest to maintain...

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear learners, I repeat my earlier question: Your suggestions show a high diversity of animals that you choose. How would you explain that diversity between you?

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear Learners, thank you for your comments. The glossary is not complete, One Health is an open field and we listed mainly those issues to which we bring examples and go into technical detail. We hope One Health will embrace additional fields in the future.

  • Dear Learners, the link for the book has been updated and should work now. All the best, Jakob

  • Jakob Zinsstag made a comment

    Dear learners, your suggestions show a high diversity of animals that you choose. How would you explain that?

  • Dear Barbara, we distinguish between what is observed and what a patient feels her or himself. Interestingly this is often very different for human diseases. When we ask mobile pastoralists in Africa about animal diseases, their observations are very similar to what we observe as veterinarians. Can you imagine why?