BACKGROUND: Neglected zoonoses continue to significantly affect human health in low-resource countries. A symposium was organised in Antwerp, Belgium, on 5 November 2010 to evaluate how intersectoral collaboration among educational and research institutions could improve the situation.
RESULTS: Brucellosis and echinococcosis were presented as models for intersectoral collaboration. Low-resource societies face evident knowledge gaps on disease distribution, transmission within and across species and impact on human and animal health, precluding the development of integrated control strategies.
RECOMMENDATIONS: While veterinarians have been the main driver of the One Health initiative, the medical profession does not seem to be fully aware of how veterinary science can contribute to human public health. It was postulated that transdisciplinarity could help fill knowledge gaps and that encouraging such transdisciplinarity should start with undergraduate students. Furthermore, intersectoral collaboration on zoonoses should not ignore the social sciences (e.g. assessment of indigenous knowledge and perception; participatory surveillance), which can contribute to a better understanding of the transmission of diseases and improve communities' participation in disease control activities.