Practice what you preach: Importance of veterinarian involvement in zoonotic disease prevention – A Michigan focus





Objective: Determine the extent to which practicing veterinarians in Michigan, USA engaged in commonly recommended practices for the prevention of zoonotic diseases (ZDs).

Background: Follow-up to Lipton et al. (2008) Washington State study.

Methods: Online survey link was emailed February 2020 to 3,410 Michigan licensed veterinarians practicing clinical medicine with emails on file with Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Results: 402 veterinarians responded. A high proportion (161/214 [75%]) of respondents agreed it was very important for veterinarians to advise clients about the potential for ZD, yet only 34% (74/215) reported they had initiated discussions about ZDs with clients on a daily basis, although 64% (137/214) indicated they had client educational materials on ZDs available in their practices. Nearly 62% (47/76) of veterinarians who obtained their degree after 2010 were likely to eat / drink in animal handling areas as compared to only 33% (18/54) of those who graduated before 1989. Over 30% of respondents (64/210) indicated there were no written infection control guidelines for staff members in the practice, and 28% (60/214) reported having been infected with a ZD in practice.

Conclusion: Veterinarians appreciate their important role in ZD prevention and welcome increased communication between human and veterinary medicine plus assistance from public health agencies regarding ZD prevention. Communication / coordination / collaboration among human medicine / animal medicine / environmental health (i.e., One Health) is necessary to protect the public’s health from zoonoses.


Open Access Peer Reviewed


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