ICBAS - Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar
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Avian influenza – how One Health initiative matters!

By Sofia Costa Lima, ICBAS

PORTO - Avian influenza virus is spreading in Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. Avian flu virus is a contagious influenza type A virus that can infect and kill poultry (such as chickens, domestic ducks. pheasants, turkeys, quail, among others) and wild birds (including migratory birds). Significant outbreaks have been raising, since October 2021, reaching new geographical areas and causing devastating impacts on animal health and welfare. Avian influenza can occasionally be transmitted to humans and other mammals. This infection represents a global risk to food security, animal health, and livelihoods for poultry farmers, but also a threat to wildlife on sea and land animals. Besides disrupting the local ecology outbreaks harm biodiversity.

Migratory birds are the natural reservoir for the avian influenza virus. Climate change is influencing migration routes, given the seasonal alterations. Now, migratory bird populations are coping with one another increasing the odds of new virus variants. A surveillance program to monitor the evolution and diversity of variants is crucial to prevent animal, environmental and human health. Addressing the avian influenza virus requires One Health strategy.

Now, more than ever, governments need to invest in local and global approaches that focus on the interface of animal/ human/environmental health to enable communication and preparedness responses for current and future challenges.

Image Credits: Sofia Lima

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Rising of dementia cases: can a One Health approach help to prevent it?

By Luísa Azevedo, ICBAS

PORTO - As the population ages, important social and health-related challenges arise such as the increase in prevalence of several late-onset diseases. Among these are different forms of dementia, of which Alzheimer disease is the most common worldwide. Although aging is the most relevant risk factor for dementia, there are several other factors (both genetic and environmental) that can act as modifiers of the disease risk. Whilst many of these environmental and genetic players remain to be discovered, the number of cases continues to increase. According to the expectations, the number of cases of all dementia types will experience an incremental increase in the near future. That this will constitute a socioeconomic challenge is an understatement.

Under the One Health perspective, it is however possible to take some serious steps in order to lessen new cases in the future. For instance, maintaining an active life and taking regular physical exercise has been demonstrated to be of utmost importance for a healthier aging process.

Image Credits: Luísa Azevedo

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