EMERGING ISSUES | COVID-19 | EVENTS | CONTACT

Surveillance for Zoonotic Diseases in Agricultural Workers in Minnesota

Project Description

Dates: 2012 – current

Diseases shared by humans and animals are more likely to affect agricultural workers and their families than other Minnesotans. These types of diseases are called zoonoses and some examples are E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidium. Currently, information is lacking on exactly how frequent these infections are among agricultural workers, what the specific risk factors are for becoming ill from a zoonoses, and what preventive measures may be most effective.

Surveillance for Zoonotic DiseasesThe primary role of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center is to use the work MDH is already doing to keep track of infectious diseases in Minnesota to better describe the frequency of zoonoses in agricultural workers, their families, and others exposed to agricultural settings in Minnesota. The long term objective of the MDH project is to reduce the frequency of zoonoses among agricultural workers, their families, and others exposed to animal agriculture settings.

Our project aims to work on the following things:

  1. Identify the most important zoonotic diseases found in agricultural populations in Minnesota;
  2. Starting in 2012, determine how frequently agricultural workers are getting sick with these diseases every year;
  3. Study any new diseases that may be related to agriculture settings;
  4. Find out what specific risk factors are leading to agricultural workers and their families becoming sick; and
  5. Develop and put in place programs to prevent workers, their families, and visitors from becoming sick with zoonotic diseases.
2015 Project Update

Minnesota Illness Cases with Animal Agriculture ExposureAgriculture is a large part of Minnesota’s economy, supporting more than 340,000 people through food animal production and processing support services. Zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be passed between animals and people) are a risk to agricultural workers, their families, and others exposed to food animals. However, little information is available describing specific risk factors on the farm for developing a zoonotic disease and how frequently agricultural workers and their families get sick from food animals. The UMASH project at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) focuses on describing the size of this problem in agricultural populations, which can be used to develop more effective prevention measures to minimize the occurrence of zoonotic diseases.

Diarrheal illnesses such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Salmonella are reportable to MDH, and all ill people are interviewed with a routine questionnaire that includes questions about agricultural exposures (living, working, or visiting a farm, petting zoo, fair, or other venue with animals). Since January 2012, patients with agricultural exposure have been re-interviewed with a more detailed questionnaire about the types of activities they were doing with the animals. Based on these interviews, 51% of patients with a Cryptosporidium parvum infection, 25% of patients with an E. coli O157:H7 infection, 26% of patients with a Campylobacter infection, and 13% of patients with a Salmonella infection had a food animal exposure in the week before their illness. For all but Salmonella, the percentages of ill people with food animal contact are much higher than previously reported estimates; (Cryptosporidium 16%, E. coli O157:H7 6%, Campylobacter 17%, and Salmonella 11%). MDH offers educational materials to these patients, and 57% of them were interested in receiving the materials.

UMASH Zoonotic Diseases ProjectIn addition to collecting data on recent zoonotic infections, MDH has offered four, free full-day workshops to people associated with county fairs and two free evening workshops to people with agritourism operations (apple orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, etc.) on how to have safe human-animal interactions. These workshops have been well-attended and well-received, and we plan on continuing them on a yearly basis.

This past summer we had two outbreaks of E. coli O157 associated with different county fairs. MDH has been working closely with the fair board presidents and will be providing onsite consultations for the fairs to discuss measures that can be implemented for next fair season in order to prevent future outbreaks from happening.

LINKS:

Project Personnel

PROJECT PERSONNEL

CO-INVESTIGATORS

Photo of Richard N. Danila PhD

Richard N. Danila, PhD

Assistant State Epidemiologist Minnesota Department of Health
Phone: 612-201-5116
Photo of Joni M. Scheftel DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Joni M. Scheftel, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

State Public Health Veterinarian Supervisor, Zoonotic Diseases UnitMinnesota Department of Health
Phone: 651-201-5107

COORDINATOR

Project Resources

Publications and Presentations

  • Fowler, H., Griffith, J., Pretzel, E., Scheftel, J., Smith, K., & Whitten, T. (2012, Feb. 3). Occupational hazards in veterinary medicine: Going rogue isn’t vogue anymore! MCRF Donors meeting, Marshfield, WI, United States.
  • Fowler, H., Griffith, J., Pretzel, E., Scheftel, J., Smith, K., & Whitten, T. (2013, June 11). Minnesota veterinary personnel occupational hazards survey. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference, Pasadena, CA, United States.
  • Holzbauer, S. (2015, June). MDH H5N2 influenza response update. Board of Animal Health (BAH) Quarterly Meeting, St. Cloud, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2013, Aug. 6). Barns, bites, and bugs, oh my! People’s energy co-op. Oronoco, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2013, Aug. 29). What is UMASH and how is MDH involved? MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology Prevention and Control Division Meeting, Saint Paul, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2014, Feb. 13). A One Health approach to healthy fairs. University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Environmental Health Seminar, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2015, May). Animal contact outbreaks in Minnesota: What happens when you combine petting zoos, poop, and people! Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA), Alexandria, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2015, Oct.). Animal contact outbreaks in Minnesota: What happens when you combine petting zoos, people, and poop! National Environmental Health Association Region 4 Conference, Waterloo, IA, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2016, Feb. 6). A perennial problem: People, petting zoos, and poop! The veterinarian’s role in encouraging safe & healthy human-animal interactions. Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2016, Apr. 18). The next frontier in agriculture [Webinar]. AgriSafe Network.
  • Klumb, C. (2016, June 18-23). Zoonotic disease surveillance among agricultural workers and their families, MN 2012-2015. CSTE Annual Conference, Anchorage, AK, United States.
  • Klumb, C. (2017, Apr. 12). Surveillance for zoonotic diseases in agricultural workers in Minnesota II. Women in Agriculture Leadership, Chanhassen, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., Saunders, S., & Smith, K. (2013, Sept. 25). E. coli O157:H7 surveillance in agriculture populations in Minnesota. North American Agricultural Safety Summit, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., Saunders, S., & Smith, K.E. (2014, Sept. 25-27). E. coli O157:H7 surveillance in agricultural populations in Minnesota. North American Agricultural Safety Summit, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., & Scheftel, J. (2014, Sept.). Review of 2014 E. coli O157 outbreak associated with a traveling petting zoo. Minnesota Federation of County Fairs (MFCF) District Meeting, Bloomington, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., & Schiffman, E. (2013, June 18). Working together for a healthy fair: Environmental health, human health, and animal health. St. Cloud, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., & Schiffman, E. (2013, June 20). Working together for a healthy fair: Environmental health, human health, and animal health. Healthy Fairs Workshops, Rochester, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., & Schiffman, E. (2014, Jan. 17). Working together for a healthy fair: Environmental health, human health, and animal health. MN Federation of County Fairs Annual Convention, Bloomington, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., & Schiffman, E. (2014, Apr. 14). Working together for a healthy fair: Environmental health, human health, and animal health. Healthy Fairs Workshops, Bemidji, MN, United States.
  • Klumb, C., & Schiffman, E. (2014, Apr. 27). Working together for a healthy fair: Environmental health, human health, and animal health. Healthy Fairs Workshops, Marshall, MN, United States.
  • Martin, K. (2015, Oct.). Public health’s role in response to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N2 – Minnesota 2015. ID Week, San Diego, CA, United States.
  • Moovin’ and groovin’. (2013, Aug. 29). North Central Farm Women’s Network, Dorchester, WI, United States.
  • Saunders, S., Scheftel, J.S., & Smith, K.E. (2014, Dec. 3, 2014). Salmonellosis outbreak among workers at a Minnesota turkey hatchery. Minnesota Board of Animal Health Quarterly Meeting, Mankato, MN, United States.
  • Scheftel, J. (2013, Sept. 16-17). Swine influenza: The human and animal interface at Minnesota fairs and live animal markets. Leman Swine Conference, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Scheftel, J. (2015, Jan. 17). E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks at Minnesota county fairs associated with a traveling petting zoo. Minnesota Federation of County Fairs Annual Conference, Bloomington, MN, United States.
  • Scheftel, J. (2015, Feb.). E. coli O157 outbreak at Minnesota county fairs associated with a traveling petting zoo: Role of a veterinarian in animal contact outbreak investigations. Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Scheftel, J. (2015, March). E. coli O157 outbreak at Minnesota county fairs associated with a traveling petting zoo: Role of a veterinarian in animal contact outbreak investigations. Student American Veterinary Medical Association, Minneapolis, MN, United States.
  • Scheftel, J. (2015, Nov.). Highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak and response. National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), Saint Paul, MN, United States.
  • Scheftel, J. (2017, July 22). Risk for enteric pathogens as it relates to people who live on farms, work on farms, or visit farms. American Veterinary Medical Association Annual Convention, Indianapolis, IN, United States.
  • Smith, K. S. (2014, July 27). Sporadic infections associated with animal agriculture [Speaker notes]. American Veterinary Medical Association Annual Conference, Denver, CO, United States.
  • Smith, K.S., & Scheftel, J. M. (2014, July 27). Animal contact compendium [Speaker notes]. American Veterinary Medical Association Annual Conference, Denver, CO, United States.

Project News