South Dakota One Health initiative of bridging the gaps between the interconnectedness of human and animal health recently did just that with a large donation of hand sanitizer stations to every county 4H office in South Dakota. Sixty-two hand sanitizer stations were given to South Dakota 4H as a way to improve healthy interactions between animals and people. Many people who attend 4H Achievement Days, county fairs, rodeo’s, animal shows, and youth development activities will benefit from having a hand sanitizing station available to decrease the transmission of harmful bacteria and viruses that can be transmitted through contact with animals and their surroundings. The hand sanitizing stations serve also to protect the animals as they can share our susceptibility to some diseases. Each station also came with a sign promoting proper handwashing and sanitizing when having contact with animals which will serve as a great reminder to practice healthy habits.
South Dakota One Health’s mission is to effectively communicate and share information regarding zoonotic disease and other public health issues among livestock producers, healthcare providers, and veterinarians in an effort to provide and maintain high quality healthcare to both human and animal populations in South Dakota. This has been done through multiple one day meetings that highlight the impacts of zoonotic disease and bring together people with a wide variety of expertise in animal and human health care. It is estimated that at least 75% of emerging and re-emerging diseases are either zoonotic (spread between humans and animals) or vector-borne (carried from infected animals to others through insects); therefore, increasing the significance of SD One Health. The SD One Health website, www.onehealthsd.org, hosts all the meeting archives that include valuable information from regional experts. It also houses blog articles, a directory of experts, and a disease index to further promote collaboration, awareness, and information. They are all useful tools that address potential or existing risks that originate at the animal-human interface.
South Dakota One Health is funded by a Bush Foundation grant. Partners of South Dakota One Health include SDSU Extension, South Dakota AHEC, Northeast SD AHEC, Yankton Rural AHEC, SD Animal Industry Board, SD Department of Health, and USD Sanford School of Medicine. Please visit the SD One Health website at www.onehealthsd.org for more information.