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The Role of Comparative Pathology in the Investigation of Zoonoses

Chen-Hsuan Liu a, Yung-Hsiang Hsu b

aDepartment of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
bDepartment of Pathology, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital and Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan

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Emerging and re-emerging zoonoses have raised great concerns in both human and animal health worldwide in the past 20 years. Rudolph Virchow proposed a “one medicine” discipline and emphasized the importance of cooperation 150 years ago. In the face of emerging threats from unpredictable zoonoses, human medicine and veterinary medicine should not be separate and independent sciences. Anatomic pathologists who are capable of analyzing and interpreting anatomical manifestations of diseases to obtain a definite diagnosis or exclude a wide variety of diseases play an important role in the diagnostic team. Although disease-associated microbes are numerous, morphologic patterns of tissue reaction caused by microbes are limited. Therefore, the interactions between microbes and host determine the histological changes in the target tissues. The contributions of anatomic pathology, with its use of morphologic similarities and special techniques, are important in zoonosis diagnosis. This can be seen in retrospective case studies of recent zoonoses such as multinucleated syncytial giant cells in severe acute respiratory syndrome and mouse hepatitis virus infection, syncytial cells in Henipahvirus infection and paramyxovirus, neuronal vacuolation in bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Streptococcus suis type 2 meningitis. In Taiwan, the Chinese Society for Comparative Pathology, which was established in 1994, provides for this interaction. Interlaboratory cooperation plays an important role in the diagnosis, surveillance, and control of emerging and re-emerging zoonoses.


Comparative pathology; One medicine; Zoonoses


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