One Health

Statens Serum Institut (SSI) engages to strengthen the health of humans and animals in a One-Health perspective.

SSI undertakes research, surveillance and disease preparedness tasks in the human and veterinary fields after having taken over the veterinary preparedness on January 1, 2020. SSI is now responsible for not only the Danish preparedness against infectious diseases in humans under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Health, but also for the national animal disease preparedness for the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark in close collaboration with the University of Copenhagen. This means that SSI is officially a One-Health-Institute.

In the vision for the veterinary preparedness, we have committed to counsel The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration from a One-Health mind-set, in which the consideration of humans, animals and environment is weighed in the research-based answers.

What is One Health?

One Health is a holistic approach to understanding health and is based on collaboration between different professions. The underlying basis for One Health is an understanding that the health of humans and animals and the conservation of our environment are connected.

Initially, One Health was developed as a strengthened collaboration between the human and veterinary medical world. Today One Health comprises still more sciences, such as environmental science, food science, climate research and social and behavioural science. Still more scientists place One Health in a bigger agenda: In order to stay healthy in a broad sense, we must protect the planet we inhabit and set limitations for growth. This is called Planetary Health.

Why is One Health relevant?

One Health is relevant, because 75 % of all new threats from viruses and bacteria originate from animals. This happens in interaction with other circumstances, such as change in the production systems, climate changes, demographical changes and our growing exploitation of natural resources.

Transfer of resistant genes and spreading of resistant bacteria between animals and humans and in the environment is a highly important part of the whole issue of antibiotic resistance. Therefore, One Health is crucial in order to combat resistance.

In order to perform a careful surveillance of diseases and risk assessment, interdisciplinary collaboration is important.

One Health is, however, also an important approach, because there are many similarities between the disease processes in animals and humans. Through time, researchers have learned a lot from each other by studying similarities and differences between diseases in different species and humans. In One Health, this aspect can be characterised as comparative research.

Finally, there is a number of advantages for an institute like SSI in applying the same technological platforms and employees to analyse samples from animals and humans – all in an accredited diagnostic set up. The collaboration provides synergies, and therefore we can undertake a more efficient disease preparedness with a One Health approach than if the disease preparedness was divided into narrower disciplines.


SSI One Health activities

SSI has a long tradition of working in a One-Health perspective, and SSI is involved in both disease preparedness and surveillance activities and in Danish and international research projects, which besides the human area cover animals and the environment. SSI collaborates with a number of partners and networks.

See selected One Health activities within research

Read more about some of our One Health preparedness and surveillance activities below.


The DANMAP collaboration is responsible for the surveillance of antibiotic consumption and occurrence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in animals, food and humans. DANMAP was initiated in 1995; it has since on an annual basis published a comprehensive report that in detail describes results from every year as well as development within antibiotic consumption and resistance over the past 10 to 20 years. DANMAP has thus contributed significantly to the establishment and development of the systems needed for AMR surveillance. It also plays an important role as the basis for the development of national guidelines and risk management of AMR and is often referred to as one of the major One Health initiatives in Denmark and internationally.

Partners: DTU FOOD and SSI. 

More information

Head of unit Anders Rhod Larsen

Surveillance of influenza virus

SSI conduct surveillance of influenza virus in both animals and humans. This covers surveillance of circulating influenza viruses in swine, birds and humans, including detection of notifiable influenza virus in both animals (e.g. avian influenza subtypes H5 and H7) and humans (e.g. zoonotic transmission).

Partners: The surveillance is performed in close collaboration with national (SST, FVST) and international authorities (WHO, ECDC, OIE).

More information:

Head of unit Ramona Trebbien
Senior scientist Charlotte Hjulsager

Surveillance of ornithosis and avian chlamydiosis

Surveillance of ornithosis is performed as a collaboration between Statens Serum Institut/Danish Veterinary Consortium and the Danish Agency for Patient Safety. Ornithosis is a zoonosis caused by Chlamydia psittaci transmitted from infected birds. In collaboration with the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, the source of infection is traced by taking samples from birds or bird holdings/flocks with direct or indirect contact to infected humans. The samples from birds are submitted to SSI and investigated by PCR. Birds with suspected avian chlamydiosis must be reported to the veterinary authorities.

Partners: The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, University of Copenhagen, The Danish Patient Safety Authority.

More information:

Senior scientist Søren Anker Uldum
Senior scientist Øystein Angen
Head of unit Randi Føns Petersen
Epidemiologist Charlotte Kjelsø

Cross-disciplinary collaboration on foodborne outbreaks 

SSI is a part of a close collaboration between the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark in coordinating food- and waterborne outbreaks in Denmark. The collaboration is formalized in The Central Outbreak Management Group (COMG) with representatives from the above-mentioned institutions. COMG meets weekly, monitors the incidence of human gastrointestinal infections, and compare to findings of pathogens in food and feed.

More information:

Microbiologist Susanne Schjørring
Epidemiologist Luise Müller 

Class III facility 

SSIs VUA-BIO has a class III facility, which can be made available in for One Health purposes, e.g. any health emergency situation. The animal facility are also available for non-OH booking of animal experiments if vacant.

Head of unit Susanne Andresen 

VUAs pilot plant 

SSIs VUA-PAV has an up- and downstream production facility. This facility can be used for manufacture of vaccines for animals for One Health purposes. The facility is class C with LAF zone and contains a tunnel autoclave. The facility can also be used for production of vaccines for human use. The facility does not contain a sterile filling facility (this is performed externally).

More information.

Charlotte Green Jensen