Emily Jenkins received her B.Sc. in Honours Zoology at the University of Alberta and her D.V.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan. She formerly served as the Wildlife Disease Specialist for Environment Canada (Government of Canada) and is now Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. She holds a joint appointment with the School of Public Health and is an associate member of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. Her research focus is on zoonotic parasites, including Echinococcus, Toxoplasma, and Giardia, and vector-borne diseases at the One Health interface.
One Health can be defined as a coordinated, collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach that recognizes that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems is intimately connected. Veterinary parasitology has long recognized the need for a One Health approach to the diversity and complexity of parasite transmission among animals, people, and the environment. Too often, however, the risks of zoonotic transmission overshadow the benefits from close contact with companion animals and shared environments with wildlife. I’ll discuss three case studies where the roles of animals as sources of human exposure to zoonotic parasites are not clear-cut. 1) Echinococcus multilocularis ? if a dog develops alveolar hydatid disease in the forest, is anybody listening? 2) Toxoplasma gondii ? it’s not your cat that’s making you crazy?3) Giardia ? Canis too familiaris? Through these case studies, I illustrate some of the challenges facing veterinary public health and parasitology in engaging the broader One Health community, and the importance of a balanced risk-benefit approach to veterinary parasites as we “look to the future” in a One Health world.