News release: Eat better, walk the dog, properly dispose of unused antibiotics to honor global One Health Day

News Release
November 2, 2016

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Eat better, walk the dog, properly dispose of unused antibiotics to honor global One Health Day

Nov. 3 to be observed as One Health Day around the world, spotlighting the close connections among health, agriculture and environment

Staying healthy isn’t just about going easy on leftover Halloween candy (although that certainly helps). It’s also about dozens of day-to-day decisions ranging from diet to handwashing to proper use and disposal of antibiotics.

Looking to highlight the many ways individual health, community health and the environment are connected, leaders of Minnesota state agencies will join national health agencies, academic institutions and clinical health facilities around the world to observe the first One Health Day this Thursday, Nov. 3.

The Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency work together on many health-related issues such as infectious disease reporting, groundwater testing and making sure that the Minnesota State Fair is safe and fun for everyone. Recognizing One Health Day is a way to honor and demonstrate that collaboration.

“Health is determined by so much more than just what happens in the clinic or doctor’s office,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “It’s important for health, agriculture and environmental agencies to work together to protect human, animal and environmental health. Here in Minnesota we’ve developed really strong partnerships across agencies, and that’s good news for all of us.”

A “One Health” approach recognizes that the health of humans, animals and the environment are interconnected. The goal of One Health initiatives is to work collaboratively across disciplines and agencies to improve the health of all.

One Health Day is a new international campaign coordinated by the One Health Commission, the One Health Initiative Autonomous Pro Bono Team and the One Health Platform Foundation. The goal is to bring attention to the value of the One Health approach and to demonstrate its value. Health agencies, academic institutions and clinical facilities globally will recognize this day and share the concept of One Health with their local communities.

One area in which Minnesota has become a national leader in One Health collaboration is antibiotic stewardship. On July 1, 2016, leaders of the four agencies launched a major five-year plan to work together with partners in public health, health care, academia, agribusiness, environmental protection and other fields to combat antibiotic resistance. The focus is on improving the way antibiotics are used in human and animal health and better understanding the impact of antibiotics on the environment.

Many threats to human health involve an animal and/or environmental source, including foodborne and waterborne diseases, deadly diseases like Ebola and anthrax, mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile Virus and tick-borne diseases like Lyme. Similarly, humans are capable of bringing diseases like influenza to animal populations, and we frequently contaminate our natural environment with pharmaceutical or other household and industrial wastes.

Many benefits to human health are also associated with animals and the environment. We count on healthy animals and agricultural land to provide us with nutritious food. Our physical and mental health is enhanced through interactions with pets and by exercising and relaxing in our natural surroundings.

Some things you can do to practice One Health on Nov. 3 and year-round include:

  • Make sure you're healthy if you'll be attending agricultural fairs or petting zoos, and remember to wash your hands after touching animals or their environment.
  • Make a commitment to exercise and healthy eating for both you and your pets.
  • Think about riding your bike instead of driving to both reduce air pollution and boost your activity level.
  • Properly dispose of chemicals and leftover medications as recommended so they stay out of Minnesota’s lakes and streams.

For more information on One Health, visit these websites:

One Health Antibiotic Stewardship News and Events

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Managing unwanted medications

CDC - One Health


Media inquiries:

Michael Schommer
MDH Communications