For animal owners
The HUNT - Health Survey in Nord-Trøndelag is a great example of how population studies can give insight into the health of humans and animals and how diseases can be prevented. By participating in HUNT One Health, you participate in building knowledge about this area - what we like to call One Health. When HUNT4 started, we had the opportunity to be part of a sub-project where we contacted HUNT4 participants and asked if they would contribute with samples from their animals. Many animal owners responded positively to this inquiry and gave their consent to participate in HUNT One Health. Many of these submitted fecal samples of domestic animals (sheep, cattle, pigs), pets (dog, cat) and horse. Many dog owners also responded to a major survey about their dog-keeping. When the project continues, those who have given their consent will be important in building up the knowledge base for the project.
You gave your consent to participate in HUNT One Health during the interview for HUNT4. You can, of course, withdraw this consent at any time if you do not wish to continue to participate.
We have known for many years that there is a connection between human health, animal health and that humans have the benefits of having contact with animals. Many people thrive through animal contact, and that applies to both domestic animals and pets. At the same time, we share many microorganisms between animals and humans, and some of them can cause disease in humans (and animals). This is what makes the project exciting - to know about the positive elements of animal contact and at the same time have the knowledge to reduce the risk of infection to humans from animals (or viceversa).
In the first phase of the project, we collected faecal samples from animals. These samples will be examined with modern genetic engineering by sequencing the genetic material (DNA) present in the sample. The complex "soup" of genetic material in such a sample can be characterized and you can look at what is often called a microbiome or microbiota in animals and correspondingly in humans who have contact with animals. At the same time, you can look at how health conditions affect the composition of each individual's microbiome. In the same phase, we collected basic information on the sampled animals. A comprehensive survey from dog owners forms the basis for linking information about the microbiome to an epidemiological description of individuals and groups.
Over time, HUNT One Health will help animal owners learn about beneficial and some adverse aspects of animal keeping, and better understand how the interaction of animals and humans can contribute to a better world for all of us.