Livestock health and productivity are negatively impacted by the presence of endemic and emerging diseases, such as brucellosis and animal swine fever. The Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) programme, led by the University of Liverpool, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and a partnership of international institutions, establishes and implements a framework for measuring these global animal health burdens and their impacts on human lives and economies. Sciensano co-leads the GBADs Human Health Theme and looks at the population health impact of zoonotic and foodborne diseases.
With continuing population growth and rising demand for food, livestock and aquaculture are integral to improving food and nutrition security, health and livelihoods for a large proportion of the world’s population, especially in low and middle-income countries. These positive contributions are being undermined however, by the negative effects of livestock production and consumption on society and the environment. Livestock produce greenhouse gases and cause environmental degradation, act as a stepping-stone for zoonotic disease emergence, and antimicrobial use in farming drives the selection of antimicrobial resistance genes. Furthermore, excessive consumption of some livestock products is linked to non-communicable disease risks.
The Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) programme creates the global evidence base for addressing these issues through improving livestock production and animal health systems, more specifically:
- GBADs develops a systematic approach to understanding global livestock populations and the resources invested in animals by societies around the world;
- GBADs develops an understanding of the major constraints on livestock productivity and the means to address them; and
- GBADs develops robust measures for the impact of livestock on food security, disease risks and climate change.
Sciensano is leading the Human Health Theme within GBADs, in collaboration with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The activities of the Human Health Theme aim at supporting the IHME Global Burden of Disease Study and the World Health Organization Global Burden of Foodborne Disease Study by supplementing existing disease models with additional data and updated evidence, and by supporting the inclusion of new disease models.