Experts in various fields examine link between human and animal health in Utah

Posted at 5:01 PM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 19:01:17-04

LEHI, Utah -- State public health leaders are studying the link between animal health and human health.

On Thursday, at the gardens at Thanksgiving Point, experts gathered from a variety of fields to find out why the two spread to one another.

For the first time, Utah has joined the One Health Movement.

It's a movement that, according to the movement's website, "... is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment..."

Experts and professionals in the fields of public health, the environment, agriculture, wildlife, veterinarian practices, health care, and more came together to study each other's fields and find the links between animal and human disease.

"As you encroach on wildlife environment, you start seeing our environments overlap, so we are going to interact more and can help; if a kid sees a bat, they are going to pick it up, play with it," said Allyn Nakashima, the Utah Health Department's epidemiologist, while talking about how rabies can spread from coming into contact with bats.

Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox attended the collaboration to show the state's support of the One Health Movement.

"We are much better and much smarter when we are working together on these issues and not only that, but there is a lot that we don't know and so there is a lot of research happening, especially at Utah State University," Cox said. "They are doing great work, and we want to get that research out to our local officials, our public health officials, farmers and any of those that deal with this industry."

The goal is collaboration and how our local leaders will take this information to control and prevent infection in the future to save lives.