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A community-based survey to assess risk for one health challenges in rural Philippines using a mobile application



Recent emerging and re-emerging diseases in animals and humans show the vulnerability of humans, animals, and crops to disease outbreaks and the large potential impact on health, food security, and economies worldwide. A technology-enabled One Health (OH) surveillance program offers an opportunity for early detection and response as well as prevention of disease outbreaks in resource-limited settings. As an initial step toward developing the surveillance program, we aimed to identify at-risk groups of households for potential shared health challenges at the human-animal-environmental interface in a rural community of the Philippines.


A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in the municipality of Los Baños in proximity (63 kilometers south) to Metro Manila by enumerators living in the same community. Twenty-four enumerators conducted household interviews asking a) household characteristics including ownership of animals and crops; b) awareness, beliefs and knowledge about OH; c) family-level health practices related to sanitation, hygiene, and food safety; and d) risk factors for potential OH issues. All data collection and transferring process were streamlined using a mobile application.


Of 6,055 participating households, 68% reported having one or more of gardens, farms, and animals for various reasons. While only 2% of the households have heard about OH, 97% believed they can get disease from animals, plants or the environment. A latent class analysis with nine risk factors for potential OH issues suggested that 46% of the households were at moderate to high risk for exposure to zoonotic pathogens and environmental contaminants.


Our findings indicate that there are unaddressed threats to human, animal, and plant health. Given the importance of the interconnections between the health of humans, animals, and plants, further evaluations of the at-risk households would be necessary to mitigate potential shared health threats in the community. Further, our study demonstrates that mHealth technology can provide an opportunity to systematically assess potential one health problems in the rural communities with limited internet connection.

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