Nanaimo, Canada
Nanaimo, Canada

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Stephen C.,University of Calgary | Stephen C.,Center for Coastal Health | Ninghui L.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Yeh F.,University of Alberta | Zhang L.,Chinese Academy of Sciences
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2011

Animal health policy for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) must, for the time being, be based on expert opinion and shared international experience. We used the intellectual capital and knowledge of experienced Chinese and Canadian practitioners and policy makers to inform policy options for China and find shared policy elements applicable to both countries. No peer-reviewed comprehensive evaluations or systematic regulatory impact assessments of animal health policies were found. Sixteen guiding policy principles emerged from our thematic analysis of Chinese and Canadian policies. We provide a list of shared policy goals, targets and elements for HPAI preparedness, response and recovery. Policy elements clustered in a manner consistent with core public health competencies. Complex situations like HPAI require complex and adaptive policies, yet policies that cross jurisdictions and are fully integrated across agencies are rare. We encourage countries to develop or deploy capacity to undertake and publish regulatory impact assessments and policy evaluation to identify policy needs and provide a basis for evidence-based policy development. © 2010 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Robertson C.,Wilfrid Laurier University | Pant D.K.,Tribhuvan University | Pant D.K.,National Zoonoses and Food Hygiene Research Center | Joshi D.D.,National Zoonoses and Food Hygiene Research Center | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is a vector-borne disease of major importance in Asia. Recent increases in cases have spawned the development of more stringent JE surveillance. Due to the difficulty of making a clinical diagnosis, increased tracking of common symptoms associated with JE-generally classified as the umbrella term, acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) has been developed in many countries. In Nepal, there is some debate as to what AES cases are, and how JE risk factors relate to AES risk. Three parts of this analysis included investigating the temporal pattern of cases, examining the age and vaccination status patterns among AES surveillance data, and then focusing on spatial patterns of risk factors. AES and JE cases from 2007-2011 reported at a district level (n = 75) were examined in relation to landscape risk factors. Landscape pattern indices were used to quantify landscape patterns associated with JE risk. The relative spatial distribution of landscape risk factors were compared using geographically weighted regression. Pattern indices describing the amount of irrigated land edge density and the degree of landscape mixing for irrigated areas were positively associated with JE and AES, while fragmented forest measured by the number of forest patches were negatively associated with AES and JE. For both JE and AES, the local GWR models outperformed global models, indicating spatial heterogeneity in risks. Temporally, the patterns of JE and AES risk were almost identical; suggesting the relative higher caseload of AES compared to JE could provide a valuable early-warning signal for JE surveillance and reduce diagnostic testing costs. Overall, the landscape variables associated with a high degree of landscape mixing and small scale irrigated agriculture were positively linked to JE and AES risk, highlighting the importance of integrating land management policies, disease prevention strategies and promoting healthy sustainable livelihoods in both rural and urban-fringe developing areas. © 2013 Robertson et al.


Anholt R.M.,University of Calgary | Stephen C.,University of Calgary | Stephen C.,Center for Coastal Health | Copes R.,Public Health England
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2012

The integration of the veterinary, medical and environmental sciences necessary to predict, prevent or respond to emerging zoonotic diseases requires effective collaboration and exchange of knowledge across these disciplines. There has been no research into how to connect and integrate these professions in the pursuit of a common task. We conducted a literature search looking at the experiences and wisdom resulting from collaborations built in health partnerships, health research knowledge transfer and exchange, business knowledge management and systems design engineering to identify key attributes of successful interdisciplinary (ID) collaboration. This was followed by a workshop with 16 experts experienced in ID collaboration including physicians, veterinarians and biologists from private practice, academia and government agencies. The workshop participants shared their perspectives on the facilitators and barriers to ID collaboration. Our results found that the elements that can support or impede ID collaboration can be categorized as follows: the characteristics of the people, the degree to which the task is a shared goal, the policies, practices and resources of the workplace, how information technology is used and the evaluation of the results. Above all, personal relationships built on trust and respect are needed to best assemble the disciplinary strength of the professions. The challenge of meeting collaborators outside the boundaries of one's discipline or jurisdiction may be met by an independent third party, an ID knowledge broker. The broker would know where the knowledge could be found, would facilitate introductions and would help to build effective ID teams. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Anholt R.M.,University of Calgary | Berezowski J.,University of Bern | MacLean K.,Business Infusions | Russell M.L.,University of Calgary | And 2 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2014

Companion animals closely share their domestic environment with people and have the potential to, act as sources of zoonotic diseases. They also have the potential to be sentinels of infectious and noninfectious, diseases. With the exception of rabies, there has been minimal ongoing surveillance of, companion animals in Canada. We developed customized data extraction software, the University of, Calgary Data Extraction Program (UCDEP), to automatically extract and warehouse the electronic, medical records (EMR) from participating private veterinary practices to make them available for, disease surveillance and knowledge creation for evidence-based practice. It was not possible to build, generic data extraction software; the UCDEP required customization to meet the specific software, capabilities of the veterinary practices. The UCDEP, tailored to the participating veterinary practices', management software, was capable of extracting data from the EMR with greater than 99%, completeness and accuracy. The experiences of the people developing and using the UCDEP and the, quality of the extracted data were evaluated. The electronic medical record data stored in the data, warehouse may be a valuable resource for surveillance and evidence-based medical research. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Anholt R.M.,University of Calgary | Berezowski J.,University of Bern | Jamal I.,AQL Management Consulting | Ribble C.,University of Calgary | And 3 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2014

Large amounts of animal health care data are present in veterinary electronic medical records (EMR) and they present an opportunity for companion animal disease surveillance. Veterinary patient records are largely in free-text without clinical coding or fixed vocabulary. Text-mining, a computer and information technology application, is needed to identify cases of interest and to add structure to the otherwise unstructured data. In this study EMR's were extracted from veterinary management programs of 12 participating veterinary practices and stored in a data warehouse. Using commercially available text-mining software (WordStat™), we developed a categorization dictionary that could be used to automatically classify and extract enteric syndrome cases from the warehoused electronic medical records. The diagnostic accuracy of the text-miner for retrieving cases of enteric syndrome was measured against human reviewers who independently categorized a random sample of 2500 cases as enteric syndrome positive or negative. Compared to the reviewers, the text-miner retrieved cases with enteric signs with a sensitivity of 87.6% (95%CI, 80.4-92.9%) and a specificity of 99.3% (95%CI, 98.9-99.6%). Automatic and accurate detection of enteric syndrome cases provides an opportunity for community surveillance of enteric pathogens in companion animals. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Stephen C.,Center for Coastal Health | Stephen C.,University of Calgary | Karesh W.B.,EcoHealth Alliance | Karesh W.B.,University Paris Est Creteil | Karesh W.B.,Species Survival Commission
OIE Revue Scientifique et Technique | Year: 2014

The One Health concept is responsible for a shift towards practices, policies and partnerships that better link the health of people, animals and our shared environments. The papers in this issue of the World Organisation for Animal Health Scientific and Technical Review illustrate a myriad of ways in which a One Health approach could advance or has already advanced human and animal well-being. Independently, the authors conducted their own thematic analysis of One Health activities and found strong support for the notion that One Health has inspired a renaissance in veterinary public health, increased our basic knowledge of the mechanisms and natural history of many animal diseases, promoted systems approaches to health issues and encouraged stronger cross-sectoral collaboration. Unfortunately, many collaborations often end when funding ends and many remain distinct partnerships. One Health still suffers from a lack of strong environmental stakeholders and has mostly worked on infectious disease rather than addressing many of the pressing determinants of health that will confront us in the next century. There is no shared conception of health across veterinary, medical and environment sectors, and this is an issue that must be confronted if there are to be programmes that are truly integrated across people, animals and the environment.


Burns T.E.,Center for Coastal Health | Stephen C.,Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
EcoHealth | Year: 2015

The need to adequately predict, prevent and respond to infectious diseases emerging unexpectedly from human–animal–environmental systems has driven interest in multisectoral, socio-economic, systems-based, collaborative (MSC) research approaches such as EcoHealth and One Health. Our goals were to document how MSC research has been used to address EIDs in Asia, and to explore how MSC approaches align with current priorities for EID research in Asia. We gathered priorities for EID research from the peer-reviewed and grey literature, documented organizational descriptions of MCS research approaches, and analysed a series of EID MSC projects. We found that priority areas for EID research in Asia included (1) understanding host-pathogen-environment interactions; (2) improving tools and technologies; (3) changing people’s behaviour; and (4) evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. We found that the unifying characteristics of MSC research were that it was action-oriented and sought to inspire change under real-world conditions at the complex interface of human and natural systems. We suggest that MSC research can be considered a type of ‘pragmatic research’ and might be most useful in describing change in complex human–animal–environmental systems, accelerating research-to-action, and evaluating effectiveness of interventions in ‘real world’ settings. © 2015, International Association for Ecology and Health.


Burns T.E.,University of Guelph | Kelton D.,University of Guelph | Ribble C.,Center for Coastal Health | Stephen C.,Center for Coastal Health
Avian Diseases | Year: 2011

Understanding normal movement patterns and husbandry practices of poultry production systems is important for understanding the dynamics of disease spread, and for controlling outbreaks of highly infectious diseases, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza. To learn about these patterns in the noncommercial or "backyard" poultry-keeping sector, an open-ended questionnaire was administered to 18 backyard-flock owners in British Columbia, Canada, and responses were analyzed descriptively. Six participants reported that they visited premises that were part of the commercial poultry system in the last year; however, bird movements between commercial and noncommercial farms were always unidirectional, from commercial to backyard. Bird movements into and out of participants' flocks occurred multiple times per month (two flocks), three times per year (five flocks), once or twice a year (nine flocks) and every 3-5 yr (two flocks). Visitors had direct contact with three participants' flocks multiple times per week; for other flocks, visitors had direct contact three times or less per year. Fourteen participants rarely had direct contact with other backyard flocks, three had contact more than once per week, and one had contact every 3 mo. Participants stated that the health of their birds was excellent 7, very good 3, good 6, O.K. 1, and all right 1, and used a median of two biosecurity practices to maintain health in their flock. Our findings suggest that bird movements are not likely to transmit disease from backyard to commercial flocks; however, human movements between backyard and commercial premises could transmit diseases. Within the backyard-flock sector, the majority of small flocks appear to pose little risk of disease transmission because they are maintained in semi-isolation from other flocks; however, a minority of flocks has high contact levels with other flocks and could be important in disease spread. © American Association of Avian Pathologists.


Stephen C.,Center for Coastal Health | Stephen C.,University of Calgary | Stephen C.,Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2014

There has been, to date, little discussion about the defining features and measures of wildlife health in the literature or legislation. Much wildlife health work focuses on the detection and response to infectious or parasitic diseases; this perspective has been reinforced by the focus of the One Health initiative on wildlife as sources of emerging infections. The definition of health as "the absence of disease" lags 70 yr behind modern concepts of human health and emerging concepts of wildlife health in terms of vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability. Policies, programs, and research that focus on the integration of wildlife health with natural resource conservation, ecosystem restoration, and public health need a working definition of health that recognizes the major threats to fish and wildlife are the result of many other drivers besides pathogens and parasites, including habitat loss, globalization of trade, land-use pressure, and climate change. A modern definition of wildlife health should emphasize that 1) health is the result of interacting biologic, social, and environmental determinants that interact to affect capacity to cope with change; 2) health cannot be measured solely by what is absent but rather by characteristics of the animals and their ecosystem that affect their vulnerability and resilience; and 3) wildlife health is not a biologic state but rather a dynamic social construct based on human expectations and knowledge. © Wildlife Disease Association 2014.


PubMed | Center for Coastal Health and Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
Type: Journal Article | Journal: EcoHealth | Year: 2016

The need to adequately predict, prevent and respond to infectious diseases emerging unexpectedly from human-animal-environmental systems has driven interest in multisectoral, socio-economic, systems-based, collaborative (MSC) research approaches such as EcoHealth and One Health. Our goals were to document how MSC research has been used to address EIDs in Asia, and to explore how MSC approaches align with current priorities for EID research in Asia. We gathered priorities for EID research from the peer-reviewed and grey literature, documented organizational descriptions of MCS research approaches, and analysed a series of EID MSC projects. We found that priority areas for EID research in Asia included (1) understanding host-pathogen-environment interactions; (2) improving tools and technologies; (3) changing peoples behaviour; and (4) evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. We found that the unifying characteristics of MSC research were that it was action-oriented and sought to inspire change under real-world conditions at the complex interface of human and natural systems. We suggest that MSC research can be considered a type of pragmatic research and might be most useful in describing change in complex human-animal-environmental systems, accelerating research-to-action, and evaluating effectiveness of interventions in real world settings.

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