Kate McConnell

Project title: Modernizing Reportable Animal Disease Data Intake and Management at the Washington State Department of Agriculture

Degree: MPH | Program: One Health (ONE) | Project type: Practicum
Completed in: 2018 | Faculty advisor: Peter Rabinowitz


The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)-Animal Services Division (ASD)-Animal Health Program (AHP) receives paper and email  reports from veterinarians and veterinary laboratories of any animal diseases that are reportable within Washington State. A number of these reportable  animal diseases are zoonotic, meaning they normally exist in animals but may be transmitted to humans. Zoonoses are of general public health concern, but in particular threaten the health and wellbeing of animal workers, who come into close contact with different animals on a regular basis. In order to  prevent both human and animal morbidity and mortality, animal health agencies must be able to conduct well-organized and accurate passive surveillance,  to efficiently analyze available zoonoses data to detect trends in the number and type of diseases reported over time, and to seamlessly  share data with human health agencies. In order to improve their ability to do all of the above, WSDA-ASD-AHP wished to standardize the way they  capture new reports of notifiable animal diseases. The overarching goal and ultimate accomplishment of this practicum project was the development of a  high-quality and userfriendly data capture and management platform, into which the student migrated all available paper and email records, and which  WSDA-ASD-AHP now is using to record all incoming animal disease reports. In particular, this project highlights barriers to implementing integrated human and animal surveillance, including the lack of a common data tracking, analysis, reporting, dissemination, and communication platform, in addition  to the lack of a standardized system of disease nomenclature. The student has agreed to continue working with WSDA-ASD-AHP to ensure the platform is functional and user-friendly as departmental needs change, and to improve data sharing with human health agencies in Washington State.