One Health: when ecosystem, animal and human health are interconnected

Event 30 May 2022
For the premiere of the film by Marie-Monique Robin, “Making Pandemics ”, to be held in the United States on 5 June, find out about CIRAD’s research on the subject of “One Health”. How is ecosystem health linked to human and animal health? Some answers.
Chasseurs au Gabon. © Brent Stirton, Getty Images for FAO, CIFOR, CIRAD, WCS
Chasseurs au Gabon. © Brent Stirton, Getty Images for FAO, CIFOR, CIRAD, WCS

The film "Making Pandemics" looked at hunting in Gabon and the health risks of bushmeat consumption © Brent Stirton, Getty Images for FAO, CIFOR, CIRAD, WCS

“Making Pandemics”, from the book of the same name by Marie-Monique Robin, written in collaboration with Serge Morand, seeks to understand and document the linkage between biodiversity loss and infectious disease emergence. In this documentary, which will premiere in Atlanta, United States, on 5 June, a number of scientists call for “One Health” approaches.

The film takes us to seven countries, including Thailand with Serge Morand and Gabon with Hadrien Vanthomme.

Bushmeat consumption and health risk management in Gabon

Hadrien Vanthomme, a researcher at CIRAD, is working in Gabon with local actors (Mulundu department) to create a legal supply chain for wild meat that is sustainable and healthy. Bushmeat is commonly consumed in Gabon, but can be a pathway for the transmission of pathogens from wildlife to humans. “In collaboration with the Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville  (CIRMF - International medical research centre in Franceville), a zoonotic risk surveillance system is currently being set up in Gabon, following a One Health approach”, says Hadrien Vanthomme.

In the documentary we see him with hunters in the village of Bembicani, presenting the goals of the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme (SWM), in the context of which he conducts these activities. In Gabon, 10 villages are developing community management plans for hunting. SWM is an international initiative by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), financed by the European Union, FFEM and AFD, in 15 African, Caribbean and Pacific states. 

Rats as a virus reservoir in Southeast Asia

In Thailand, Serge Morand, a health ecologist, has studied rats, their natural habitat and the viruses they carry. This research has made it possible to predict the areas at risk of disease outbreaks according to the presence of these species and their proximity to humans. Many species are being forced to migrate and to move closer to human settlements, due to the destruction of their habitat.

Biodiversity loss and the emergence of new infectious diseases

In 2014, Serge Morand conducted one of the first studies demonstrating the linkage between infectious disease emergence and biodiversity loss. In the film, he shows how maps of deforestation, biodiversity loss and new infectious diseases all overlap.

Serge Morand also warns against the increase in livestock breeding, which poses a health risk on several fronts.