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Abstract

Objective—To assess the knowledge and use of infection control practices (ICPs) among US veterinarians.

Design—Anonymous mail-out population survey.

Procedures—In 2005 a questionnaire was mailed to US small animal, large animal, and equine veterinarians who were randomly selected from the AVMA membership to assess precaution awareness (PA) and veterinarians' perceptions of zoonotic disease risks. Respondents were assigned a PA score (0 to 4) on the basis of their responses (higher scores representing higher stringency of ICPs); within a practice type, respondents' scores were categorized as being within the upper 25% or lower 75% of scores (high and low PA ranking, respectively). Characteristics associated with low PA rankings were assessed.

Results—Generally, respondents did not engage in protective behaviors or use personal protective equipment considered appropriate to protect against zoonotic disease transmission. Small animal and equine veterinarians employed in practices that had no written infection control policy were significantly more likely to have low PA ranking. Male gender was associated with low PA ranking among small animal and large animal veterinarians; equine practitioners not working in a teaching or referral hospital were more likely to have low PA ranking than equine practitioners working in such institutions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that most US veterinarians are not aware of appropriate personal protective equipment use and do not engage in practices that may help reduce zoonotic disease transmission. Gender differences may influence personal choices for ICPs. Provision of information and training on ICPs and establishment of written infection control policies could be effective means of improving ICPs in veterinary practices.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and practices of deer owners following identification of a cluster of captive deer with rabies as an aid for the development of rabies prevention educational materials.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Population—Captive-deer owners who were members of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association.

Procedures—Information was obtained via a mailed, self-administered questionnaire.

Results—The questionnaire response rate was 59% (249/425). One hundred three of 206 (50%) respondents had incomplete knowledge of rabies virus vectors, transmission, severity, and prevention measures. Birds or snakes were incorrectly identified as rabies vectors by 96 of 213 (45%) respondents, and most (≥ 94%) respondents identified rabies virus reservoirs as vectors. Ninety of 231 (39%) respondents identified death as an outcome of rabies, and 184 of 235 (78%) respondents would seek emergency treatment if they suspected exposure. Only 62 of 235 (26%) respondents would wash a wound immediately. The majority of respondents (173/239 [72%]) did not know the clinical signs of rabies in deer. Nine respondents indicated that they vaccinated their deer against rabies, and the majority of respondents (158/214 [74%]) would be willing to vaccinate.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggested that deer owners in Pennsylvania have a basic knowledge of rabies; however, knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding prevention of rabies transmission could be improved considerably. Rabies educational materials for deer owners should focus on postexposure procedures, disease severity, recognition of rabies in deer, and changes in management practices such as vaccination to prevent rabies.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

In 1991, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported 6,972 cases of rabies in nonhuman animals and 3 cases in human beings to the Centers for Disease Control. Ninety-one percent (6,354 cases) were wild animals, whereas 8.9% (618 cases) were domestic species. The total number of reported cases of rabies increased 42.9% over that of 1990 (4,881 cases), with most of the increase resulting from continued spread of the epizootic of rabies in raccoons in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states. Large increases in cases of rabies in animals were reported from Connecticut (200 cases in 1991, compared with 3 in 1990, an increase of 6,567%), Delaware (197 cases in 1991, compared with 44 in 1990, an increase of 348%), New York (1,030 cases in 1991, compared with 242 in 1990, an increase of 326%), and New Jersey (994 cases in 1991, compared with 469 in 1990, an increase of 112%). Other noteworthy increases were reported by Wyoming (96.4%), Texas (69.7%), California (41.3%), Oklahoma (33.1%), Minnesota (31.4%), Georgia (26.7%), and Maryland (23.7%). Hawaii reported 1 imported case of rabies in a bat. Only 16 states reported decreases in rabies in animals in 1991, compared with 30 in 1990. Pennsylvania and Iowa reported decreases of 40.6% and 27.4%, respectively. Rhode Island was the only state that did not report a case of rabies in 1991.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association