Welcoming 2021 - emergence
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Welcoming 2021

Welcome to a new edition of emergence and the beginning of a new year.  This always seems a natural time to reflect, both on what has happened in the last year and also on hopes for the coming one.

Welcome to a new edition of emergence and the beginning of a new year.  This always seems a natural time to reflect, both on what has happened in the last year and also on hopes for the coming one. Last year was a complex one for transboundary and emerging diseases.  The pandemic brought the issue of One Health diseases to the fore, and this has had an important impact on how the world focuses on controlling these diseases.  However, it also meant a lot of funds were diverted from on-going control programs in order to deal with the emergency.  This could mean that, in the short-term, we are going to see a resurgence of certain viruses.

What is clear is that we need to get better with our surveillance, both of the known diseases and of those emerging in the human:animal interface.  And this is where technology is coming in to play.  There are a lot of exciting developments that could change our knowledge and ability to predict where our focus needs to be. 

Drones not only allow us to start delivering vaccines to areas previously difficult to access, but they can also be used for animal surveillance, helping us to learn more about animal numbers and movements, both domestic and wildlife.  Social media platforms allow us to hear people’s voices and to see new disease outbreaks in real time.  Improved animal tracking helps us follow not just where animals have come from, but also to retrospectively go back and find the nodes from where disease spreads.  These are exciting times.

For the International Veterinary Health Team, innovation is a driver.  It is part of our everyday intent to discover improved ways of bringing you information.  The emergence podcast has allowed us to have interviews with experts, the new website is more interactive than ever, we hosted a virtual stand at the EuFMD OS20 meeting, and we started the Rabies 360 Challenge to leverage social media in raising awareness to rabies.

Reach out to us with suggestions of topics you would like covered on the podcast and on the website.  We want to bring you the information that you need, and the best way for us to ensure that is by hearing from you.

We will continue to look at new technologies and to explore just how they can help us all in the One Health community to bring improved health and welfare to animals and humans alike.  This is our commitment in looking forward to this year.

Alasdair King
Director, International Veterinary Health