The remarkable intersection of West Nile virus, avian

How West Nile and avian influenza viruses illustrate the challenges in applying One
Samantha E. J. Gibbs, DVM, PhD
Outbreaks of West Nile virus (WNV) and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus
subtype H5N1 (HPAI H5N1) exemplify the importance of the One Health concept.
Surveillance and response strategies for both diseases have generated linkages between
the human and animal (both wildlife and domestic) health arenas. Public health
departments, entomology field offices, and animal disease labs have worked closely to
form a diagnostic network. The important connection between virus transmission and the
agricultural and natural environments has, however, been neglected. Little headway has
been made in improving agricultural practices in impoverished regions or limiting
changes to the natural environment which favor disease transmission. These neglected
components, in concert with changes to the economic and political climates in the
affected countries, have decreased the effectiveness of control efforts. Control of
infectious diseases is central to One Health – the continued transmission of WNV and
HPAI H5N1 to new geographic areas demonstrates that we have much work to do in
achieving this goal.