November 1, 2019
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683
Leeann Duwe, DATCP, 608-224-5005
Sarah Hoye, DNR, 608-267-2773

State Agencies Work Together to Keep You Healthy

One Health Day is November 3

Making sure that people, animals, and the environment in Wisconsin are healthy is the goal of several state agencies as they mark One Health Day, which focuses on the link between all three.

The Wisconsin departments of Health Services (DHS); Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP); and Natural Resources (DNR) use the One Health idea when they collaborate to prevent health threats like infectious diseases that can be passed between animals and people.

About 60% of infectious diseases are zoonotic diseases, which can be spread between animals and people. Some common zoonotic diseases, including Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and E. coli, can be passed from livestock to people in food, by contact with manure, or in contaminated water. Other zoonotic diseases which state agencies work together to monitor and control include rabies, animal influenza, tuberculosis, and diseases spread by mosquitos and ticks.

“Protecting and preserving the health and safety of the people of Wisconsin is our top priority,” said Division of Public Health Administrator Jeanne Ayers. “The teamwork among state agencies helps ensure that people are informed, and know what steps to take to stay healthy, keep animals healthy, and protect the environment.”

“Healthy animals are an important part of our lives and communities, and we work to protect animal health and welfare,” said Dr. Darlene Konkle, DATCP’s State Veterinarian. “A team of program and field veterinarians, animal health inspectors, and investigators are working to help control animal disease outbreaks and prevent them from happening in the first place.”

During infectious disease outbreaks, DHS works with local public health staff to help identify people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease agent and to provide testing and potential treatment recommendations. DATCP assists with animal testing and next step recommendations. The DNR can help determine whether wildlife is also affected or if water or soil may be the source.

“The DNR is charged with protecting the health and welfare of Wisconsin’s natural resources including our wild animals,” said DNR Secretary-designee Preston Cole. “We take that job very seriously and will continue to lead the way with our sister agencies to give Wisconsinites surety  that we are working collaboratively to address this important issue.”

Wisconsin agencies used a One Health approach when bovine tuberculosis (TB) was found in a Wisconsin dairy herd in 2018. Disease investigators in state and local public health agencies provided TB testing and information to farm workers who might have been exposed to the disease and continue to follow up with them.  DATCP and DNR staff continue to monitor and test cattle and wildlife in the area to make sure animals and people are protected. Existing food safety laws ensure that meat from infected animals does not enter the food chain, and the pasteurization process destroys disease-causing organisms in milk.