Un-mystifying a buzzword: Qualitative analysis of the utilization of the term „human-animal-interface“ in One Health oriented research

Zoonoses are diseases, which readily cross the species barrier. Their effective control is part of the One Health concept with the “human-animal-interface” as one of the key defining features. Although the term is frequently used in describing pathogen transmission, a clear definition is lacking. This study aimed to analyse the use of this term in scientifically identifiable patterns and categories. This study consisted of a systematic literature search of two electronic databases (PubMed, ISI Web of Science) complemented by interviews of health experts in the field of zoonosis/ One Health held from March 2019 to May 2021. From identified publications, keywords and interface descriptions were extracted and categorised. Interviews followed a questioning route, were audio recorded, transcribed and qualitative content was examined. Inductive analysis was applied throughout. Study findings are based on 158 publications supplemented by 27 expert interviews. The results showed consensus in the use of keywords to describe the interface. Seven categories of contact interfaces were derived. Precise descriptions of the interfaces varied greatly depending on the pathogen domain. Specific patterns could be identified that were consistent between the literature and experts. There was a general concordance in using the human-animal-interface term between literature and experts. The results will contribute to a further systematic understanding and definition of the term.


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