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Companion Animals multisectoriaL interprofessionaL Interdisciplinary Strategic Think tank On zoonoses

CALLISTO defines companion animals as any domesticated, domestic-bred or wild-caught animals, permanently living in a community and kept by people for company, amusement, work (e.g. support for blind or deaf people, police or military dogs) or psychological support including dogs, cats, horses, rabbis, ferrets, guinea pigs, reptiles, birds and ornamental fish.

CALLISTO's mission is to provide an overview of the current situation with regard to the role of companion animals, as a source of infectious diseases for people and food animals, to identify knowledge and technology gaps for the most important zoonoses and propose targeted actions to reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases transferred via companion animals. Stakeholders and the general public are informed of CALLISTO results to contribute to the uptake of the proposed actions and to promote risk-awareness in healthy human-animal relationships.

To do so, we will form a multidisciplinary, multisectorial and interprofessional network of experts, representing the major relevant stakeholders.

CALLISTO encountered the favour of the European Commission and is arising attention and great expectations because an increasing number and range of companion animals are being kept in close interaction with human beings, achieving nearly 50% of the households in industrialised societies. Most of these keep classical pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, small rodents, birds and fish, but an increasing number of companion animals are exotic and wild animals, posing a poorly understood risk for both human and food animal health, due to the unfamiliarity with the infectious agents they may harbour and poor regulation of the wildlife trade.

CALLISTO aims to:

  1. develop a detailed overview of the role of companion animals as a source of infectious diseases for man and food animals, including available information on disease incidence and geographical distribution in these host categories;
  2. identify knowledge and technology gaps in the management of the most important zoonoses transmitted by companion animals.
  3. propose targeted actions that contribute to reducing the risk for infectious disease outbreaks in man and food animals associated with keeping companion animals.
  4. disseminate the results of CALLISTO to relevant stakeholders to contribute to the uptake of the CALLISTO-proposed actions and to promote risk-awareness in healthy and balanced human/animal relationships.

CALLISTO follows an approach that combines:

  • expert-level meetings, where academic leaders and key representatives from various organisations are engaged in in-depth analyses and exchange of knowledge on key issues related to the project objectives,
  • multidisciplinary, interprofessional and multisectorial network level conferences, synthesising the results of the expert level meetings and promoting exchange with external stakeholders.

CALLISTO is organised in three main cycles of 12 months each.

CALLISTO brought together experts and organizations, from different fields of expertise and disciplines, in a single interprofessional, interdisciplinary and multisectorial think tank, representing the major relevant stakeholders:

Acronym:
CALLISTO

Title:
Companion Animals multisectoriaL interprofessionaL Interdisciplinary Strategic Think tank On zoonoses

Funding:
European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme