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Evaluation of risk and protective factors for work-related bite injuries to veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota

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  • 1 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 2 Minnesota Department of Health, 625 Robert St N, Saint Paul, MN 55164.
  • | 3 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 4 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 5 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 7 Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center and Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

Abstract

Objective—To identify risk and protective factors for work-related bite injuries among veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota.

Design—Nested case-control study.

Sample—868 certified veterinary technicians (CVTs).

Procedures—A questionnaire was mailed to CVTs who previously participated in a survey regarding work-related injuries and did (cases; 301 surveys sent) or did not (controls; 567) report qualifying work-related animal bite injuries in the preceding 12 months. Descriptive statistics were summarized. Demographic and work-related variables for the month preceding the bite injury (for cases) or a randomly selected month (controls) were assessed with univariate analysis (489 CVTs) and multivariate analysis of a subset of 337 CVTs who worked in small or mixed mostly small animal facilities.

Results—Responses were received from 176 case and 313 control CVTs. For the subset of 337 CVTs, risk of bite injury was higher for those < 25 years of age (OR, 3.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.84 to 7.94) than for those ≥ 35 years of age, for those who had worked < 5 years (OR, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.63 to 6.45) versus ≥ 10 years in any veterinary facility, and for those who handled ≥ 5 species/d (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.74) versus < 3 species/d. Risk was lower for CVTs who handled < 10 versus ≥ 20 animals/d (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.71).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Several work-related factors were associated with the risk of work-related bite injury to CVTs. These findings may serve as a basis for development of intervention efforts and future research regarding work-related injuries among veterinary staff.

Abstract

Objective—To identify risk and protective factors for work-related bite injuries among veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota.

Design—Nested case-control study.

Sample—868 certified veterinary technicians (CVTs).

Procedures—A questionnaire was mailed to CVTs who previously participated in a survey regarding work-related injuries and did (cases; 301 surveys sent) or did not (controls; 567) report qualifying work-related animal bite injuries in the preceding 12 months. Descriptive statistics were summarized. Demographic and work-related variables for the month preceding the bite injury (for cases) or a randomly selected month (controls) were assessed with univariate analysis (489 CVTs) and multivariate analysis of a subset of 337 CVTs who worked in small or mixed mostly small animal facilities.

Results—Responses were received from 176 case and 313 control CVTs. For the subset of 337 CVTs, risk of bite injury was higher for those < 25 years of age (OR, 3.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.84 to 7.94) than for those ≥ 35 years of age, for those who had worked < 5 years (OR, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.63 to 6.45) versus ≥ 10 years in any veterinary facility, and for those who handled ≥ 5 species/d (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.74) versus < 3 species/d. Risk was lower for CVTs who handled < 10 versus ≥ 20 animals/d (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.71).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Several work-related factors were associated with the risk of work-related bite injury to CVTs. These findings may serve as a basis for development of intervention efforts and future research regarding work-related injuries among veterinary staff.

Contributor Notes

This manuscript represents a portion of a thesis submitted by Dr. Nordgren to the University of Minnesota Division of Environmental Health Sciences as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Supported in part by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC Department of Health and Human Services, through the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center (T42 OH008434) and the Regional Injury Prevention Research Center, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota.

Presented in abstract form at the 135th American Public Health Association Conference, Washington, DC, November 2007, and the 111th Annual Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Conference, Minneapolis, February 2008.

The contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the CDC or other associated entities.

Address correspondence to Dr. Gerberich (gerbe001@umn.edu).