Hendra virus in Queensland, Australia, during the winter of 2011: veterinarians on the path to better management strategies

Mendez, Diana, Buttner, Petra, and Speare, Rick (2014) Hendra virus in Queensland, Australia, during the winter of 2011: veterinarians on the path to better management strategies. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 117 (1). pp. 40-51.

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Abstract

Following the emergence of Hendra virus (HeV), private veterinarians have had to adopt additional infection control strategies to manage this zoonosis. Between 1994 and 2010, seven people became infected with HeV, four fatally. All infected people were at a higher risk of exposure from contact with horses as they were either veterinary personnel, assisting veterinarians, or working in the horse industry. The management of emerging zoonoses is best approached from a One Health perspective as it benefits biosecurity as well as a public health, including the health of those most at risk, in this case private veterinarians. In 2011 we conducted a cross-sectional study of private veterinarians registered in Queensland and providing veterinary services to horses. The aim of this study was to gauge if participants had adopted recommendations for improved infection control, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the development of HeV specific management strategies during the winter of 2011. A majority of participants worked in practices that had a formal HeV management plan, mostly based on the perusal of official guidelines and an HeV field kit. The use of PPE increased as the health status of an equine patient decreased, demonstrating that many participants evaluated the risk of exposure to HeV appropriately; while others remained at risk of HeV infection by not using the appropriate PPE even when attending a sick horse. This study took place after Biosecurity Queensland had sent a comprehensive package about HeV management to all private veterinarians working in Queensland. However, those who had previous HeV experience through the management of suspected cases or had attended a HeV specific professional education programme in the previous 12 months were more likely to use PPE than those who had not. This may indicate that for private veterinarians in Queensland personal experience and face-to-face professional education sessions may be more effective in the improvement of HeV management than passive education via information packages. The role of different education pathways in the sustainable adoption of veterinary infection control measures should be further investigated.

Item ID: 37477
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-1716
Keywords: Hendra virus, veterinarians, management, infection control, personal protective equipment, One health, continuing professional education
Funders: Anton Breinl Centre for Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2015 07:34
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 75%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 25%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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