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Sentinel Animals in a One Health Approach to Harmful Cyanobacterial and Algal Blooms

By Lorraine C. Backer, Melissa Miller

Category Journal Articles

People, domestic animals, and wildlife are all exposed to numerous environmental threats, including harmful algal blooms (HABs). However, because animals exhibit wide variations in diet, land use and biology, they are often more frequently or heavily exposed to HAB toxins than are people occupying the same habitat, making them sentinels for human exposures. Historically, we have taken advantage of unique physiological characteristics of animals, such as the sensitivity of canaries to carbon monoxide, to more quickly recognize threats and help protect human health. As HAB events become more severe and widespread worldwide, exposure and health outcome data for animals can be extremely helpful to predict, prevent, and evaluate human exposures and health outcomes. Applying a One Health approach to investigation of HABs means that lessons learned from animal sentinels can be applied to protect people, animals and our shared environment.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2016
Publication Title Veterinary Sciences
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 8
Publisher MDPI
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Bacteria
  4. Health
  5. One Health
  6. open access
  7. peer-reviewed
  8. Plants
  9. sentinel animals
  10. Toxins and toxicants
  11. water
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed