Veterinary Public Health in Italy: From Healthy Animals to Healthy Food, Contribution to Improve Economy in Developing Countries

  • Margherita Cacaci
  • Rossella Colomba Lelli
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1057)


The role of the veterinarian as a public health officer is intrinsic to the history and the culture of veterinary organization in Italy. The Veterinary service being part of the Health administration since the birth of the Italian State in the XIX Century. In the second half of the last century the birth of the Italian National Health Service confirmed that the function of the Italian veterinary service was to analyze and reduce the risks for the human population connected to the relationship man-animal-environment, animal health, food safety and security. The Italian Veterinary Medicine School curricula, reflected this “model” of veterinarian as well. In the majority of countries in the world, Veterinary Services are organized within the Agriculture Administration with the main function to assure animal health and wellbeing. After the so-called “Mad-cow crisis” the awareness of the direct and essential role of veterinary services in the prevention of human illness has been officially recognized and in the third millennium the old concept of “one health” and “human-animal interface” has gained popularity worldwide.

The concept of Veterinary Public Health, has evolved at International level and has incorporated the more than a century old vision of the Italian Veterinary medicine and it is defined as “the sum of the contributions to the physical, mental and social development of people through the knowledge and application of veterinary science” (WHO, Future trends in veterinary public health. Gruppo di lavoro OMS: TE, Italy, 1999, Available from: Last visited 16 Feb 2016, 1999).

On the subject of Cooperation, Sustainability and Public Health, the EXPO 2015 event and the activities of international organizations WHO, FAO and World Organization for Animal Health are refocusing at present their worldwide mandate to protect human health and the economy of both the poorest Countries and the developed countries, according to the “new” concept of Veterinary Public Health.

Focus of Italian Veterinary Services activity is connected to research, diagnosis and epidemiological analysis of infectious diseases, including zoonosis, food safety as well as food security.


Cooperation Food safety Food security Public Health Veterinary services Zoonosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of MicrobiologyCatholic University of the Sacred Heart (UCSC)RomeItaly
  2. 2.Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale”TeramoItaly

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