Zoonotic Disease Education

Comment on this policy

The AVMA continues to support zoonotic disease education programs targeted to veterinarians, physicians and other health and animal care professionals in accordance with the One Health concept. Such programs should be coordinated with state and local animal health, public health, and emergency management staff.

Veterinarians, physicians, and animal owners/workers should be better educated about zoonotic diseases and the impact they can have on animals and humans. Some zoonotic pathogens, especially those that are potential bioweapons, rarely occur in the US, and most veterinarians and physicians may have had very little formal education about these agents.

Contents of programs should include most or all of the following topics, depending on the audience:

  1. The impact of zoonotic diseases on human health, animal health, the national economy, and food production.
  2. The importance of the role of the veterinary profession and animal workers in detecting and preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases, and the potential for animal diseases to be used as instruments of biological warfare.
  3. The clinical and epidemiologic seminal characteristics of zoonotic diseases in animals and humans.
  4. Information from recent zoonotic disease outbreaks.
  5. The ways that zoonotic disease agents can be transmitted and introduced (fomites, vectors, affected animals and animal products, bioterrorism).
  6. The immediate biosecurity measures to be taken to prevent the spread of a suspected zoonotic disease until County, State, and/or Federal authorities can fully respond.
  7. The essential role of Federal, State, and County governments in responding to potential zoonotic disease outbreaks and how to contact the appropriate authorities when a zoonotic disease is suspected.
  8. Where to obtain further information on zoonotic diseases.

The AVMA can review program materials and presentations.