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Knowledge, attitudes, and practices relevant to zoonotic disease reporting and infection prevention practices among veterinarians — Arizona, 2015
  • Published Date:
    June 18 2019
  • Source:
    Prev Vet Med. 169:104711
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  • Description:
    Veterinarians play a crucial role in zoonotic disease detection in animals and prevention of disease transmission; reporting these zoonoses to public health officials is an important first step to protect human and animal health. Evidence suggests veterinarians and their staff are at higher risk for exposure to zoonoses because of possible interactions with infected animals. We examined the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of veterinarians regarding zoonotic disease reporting to public health agencies and associated infection prevention (IP) practices such as personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and the need for targeted education and outreach for veterinarians in Arizona. An online questionnaire was developed and distributed by email in September 2015 and was available through November 2015 to all 1,100 members of the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were performed. In total, 298 (27%) veterinarians from all 15 Arizona counties completed the survey; the majority (70%) were female, practiced small animal medicine (84%), and reported practicing veterinary medicine for ≥10 years (75%). Only 57% reported they knew when to report a suspected zoonotic disease and 60% reported they knew how to make that type of report. The majority said they would report rabies (97%), plague (96%), and highly pathogenic avian influenza (91%) to a state agency. Most respondents reported using PPE (e.g., masks, face shields, and gloves) when performing a surgical procedure (96%) or necropsy (94%), although fewer reported using PPE for handling clinically ill animals (37%) or healthy animals (17%). Approximately 70% reported always using PPE when in contact with animal birthing fluids, urine, or feces, and 47% for contact with animal blood, saliva, or other body fluids. Veterinarians who agreed that they knew the appropriate actions to protect themselves from zoonotic disease exposures were more likely to report always washing their hands before eating or drinking at work (OR = 3.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.97-7.35], P < 0.01). Responses for when to make a report and how to report were not significantly different by gender, years of practice, or holding additional degrees, but did differ by practice type, age, and number of veterinarians in the practice. Small animal veterinarians were less likely to report knowing when to make a report compared to other veterinarians (P < 0.01). Respondents demonstrated suboptimal zoonotic disease reporting and IP practices, including PPE use. Public health agencies should improve outreach and education to veterinarians to facilitate better zoonotic disease prevention practices and reporting.

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