5th OHA Symposium

Our 5th One Health Aotearoa Symposium was held at the University of Otago Wellington on 10-11 December 2019, and brought together researchers of diverse backgrounds to discuss infectious diseases and other health hazards affecting humans, animals and the environment.

A focus of One Health Aotearoa is to break down silos and barriers to facilitate trans-disciplinary research. In that regard the 2019 symposium was a huge success with over 170 delegates from diverse professional backgrounds who came together for engaging discussions.

A major theme that emerged at this year’s symposium was the impact that climate change is having on human, animal and environmental health. On this theme, Professor Tony Capon of Monash University (Ngāi Tahu) discussed how climate change is having an increasing effect on emerging infectious diseases and environmental hazards, and how human health and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. The University of Otago’s Professor Lynn Carter (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha Iwi) explained how indigenous knowledge and experiences from colonisation, in the Pacific and New Zealand, can bring new insights and possible mitigation strategies for climate change. Presenters shared insights into likely changes in climate, while others presentations highlighted the emergence of Vibrio in aquaculture and mahinga kai, as well as the increasing likelihood of introduced vector borne diseases.

Advances in diagnostics and our understanding of major infectious diseases were also covered during the symposium.  Professor Sam Sheppard, from Bath University, discussed how sequence-based typing methods have been instrumental in our understanding of Campylobacter infections. Local researchers then highlighted how these techniques have been used in New Zealand. Professor Jaqueline Norris, University of Sydney, explained the role of companion animals such as cats and dogs in zoonotic disease outbreaks in Australia. The ongoing risk of zoonotic disease emergence in New Zealand and around the world was reinforced by presentations that covered changing leptospirosis and Escherichia coli epidemiology in New Zealand, as well as Salmonella epidemiology in East Africa.

A number of presenters have shared their presentation slides, which can be found on the One Health Aotearoa website.

The 6th One Health Aotearoa Symposium will in December 2020 and more information, including abstract deadlines, will be announced soon.

Michael Maze
Chair of the 5th OHA Symposium Organising Committee

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