Research Article

Control of zoonoses in Britain: past, present, and future.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 27 August 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:591
  1. J C Bell,
  2. S R Palmer


    In the past zoonoses that caused serious human illness also caused serious loss of animal production, but there is growing awareness of the public health problems arising from infections that cause little or no such loss. Much can be learnt from the history of the control of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis. In both cases there was reluctance to accept that animals were the principal cause of infection, and the earliest attempts at control failed because measures were taken only against clinical cases of the disease. The essential features in control of both infections were: official recognition of a problem, willingness of governments to allocate resources, and cooperation between the medical and veterinary professions. Salmonellosis is the most important zoonotic infection in Britain today, though several Orders have reduced the reservoir of infection in food animals. It is suggested that a national team of doctors should be set up to investigate and control zoonoses, that this team should be answerable to a central agency, and that it should build up close working relationships with the nominated officers of the veterinary profession.