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Veterinarians at high risk for viral, bacterial infections from animals
Date:5/14/2009

vian influenza and swine hepatitis E viruses; Brucella; Coxiella burnetii; avian and feline Chlamydia psittaci; methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus; and Bartonella bacteria. Additionally, the review provided evidence that veterinarians could be infected with animal pathogens that are not widely recognized as zoonotic.

"It has been estimated that the majority of more than 1,400 recognized human diseases are zoonotic and that more than 70 percent of 177 emerging or reemerging diseases have originated in animals," Gray said. "We can expect the majority of newly emergent human pathogens to similarly originate from animals. Clearly, there is a critical need to better understand pathogen transmission from animals to man and from man to animals."

Baker and Gray also analyzed seven published surveys that focused on veterinarians' self-reported use of protective equipment. These reports indicate that veterinarians often fail to routinely use recommended personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns and respiratory protection devices.

In conversations with veterinarians, the authors learned that veterinarians may neglect to wear protective gear because of discomfort, lack of availability, cost and the belief that there is a low risk of zoonotic infection.

The authors suggest that professional and policy measures should be implemented to reduce hazards for veterinarians, which could help prevent transmission of zoonotic infections to other human and animal groups. Current national policies in place to prevent an influenza pandemic often overlook veterinarians. Based on their review, Baker and Gray believe these standards need to change.

"Veterinarians play a vital role in biopreparedness, yet they do not seem to get much respect," Gray said. "We need to appreciate their many contributions, offer them special training, and support them with public health policy measures. For instance, veterinarians
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Contact: Hannah Fletcher
hannah-fletcher@uiowa.edu
319-384-4277
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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