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Reps Call for One Health Strategy to Address COVID
Iowa Ag Connection - 05/12/2020

Monday, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig led a letter with her colleagues calling on House leadership in support of robust funding for animal disease prevention, response efforts and infrastructure in the next economic relief package.

The letter was endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The letter was signed by Reps. Collin C. Peterson, also of Minnesota; Jimmy Pannetta and Jim Costa, both, of California; Cheri Bustos of Illinois; and Cindy Axne of Iowa.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic illustrates the importance of understanding the links between human and animal health, and how a One Health approach is essential to our knowledge of these diseases. One Health is the concept that the health of humans, animals and the environment are inextricably linked. Additionally, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) has been a valuable tool for dealing with the influx of COVID-19 testing needs.

"The United States must remain on the cutting edge of research into animal, human and environmental health," said the members. "Investing in public health infrastructure across a One Health framework to address zoonotic and reverse zoonotic diseases will improve the safety of our families and food supply chain."

Coronaviruses, including COVID-19, originate in animals--like camels, civets and bats--and are usually not transmissible to humans. However, a coronavirus can mutate and pass from animals to humans and then from human to human, as was the case with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in the early 2000s and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 95,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine. It is headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill.

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