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Using a One Health approach to prioritize zoonotic diseases in China, 2019

Background: China is vulnerable to zoonotic disease transmission due to a large agricultural work force, sizable domestic livestock population, and a highly biodiverse ecology. To better address this threat, representatives from the human, animal, and environmental health sectors in China held a One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization (OHZDP) workshop in May 2019 to develop a list of priority zoonotic diseases for multisectoral, One Health collaboration.

Methods: Representatives used the OHZDP Process, developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), to prioritize zoonotic diseases for China. Representatives defined the criteria used for prioritization and determined questions and weights for each individual criterion. A review of English and Chinese literature was conducted prior to the workshop to collect disease specific information on prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) from China and the Western Pacific Region for zoonotic diseases considered for prioritization.

Results: Thirty zoonotic diseases were evaluated for prioritization. Criteria selected included: 1) disease hazard/severity (case fatality rate) in humans, 2) epidemic scale and intensity (in humans and animals) in China, 3) economic impact, 4) prevention and control, and 5) social impact. Disease specific information was obtained from 792 articles (637 in English and 155 in Chinese) and subject matter experts for the prioritization process. Following discussion of the OHZDP Tool output among disease experts, five priority zoonotic diseases were identified for China: avian influenza, echinococcosis, rabies, plague, and brucellosis.

Conclusion: Representatives agreed on a list of five priority zoonotic diseases that can serve as a foundation to strengthen One Health collaboration for disease prevention and control in China; this list was developed prior to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Next steps focused on establishing a multisectoral, One Health coordination mechanism, improving multisectoral linkages in laboratory testing and surveillance platforms, creating multisectoral preparedness and response plans, and increasing workforce capacity.


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