Preventing diseases associated with animals in public settings

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians has published the Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, 2005. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AVMA, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists have endorsed the compendium, which was released as a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Recommendations and Reports on March 25. It is available here.

In recent years, recognition of the risks of human injury and disease from animal contacts in public settings, such as petting zoos, has increased. These include injuries, allergic reactions, and infection with zoonotic pathogens, including Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp, Coxiella burnetii, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Because of recent outbreaks, the NASPHV developed practical guidelines and recommendations for preventing transmission of zoonoses in public settings and published them in 2004. The recently released compendium is a revised version of the 2004 recommendations.

The report emphasizes that washing hands is the single most important preventive step for reducing the risk of disease transmission.

Other critical recommendations are that venues should include transition areas between animal areas and areas without animals (where food is sold), and that animals should be properly cared for and managed in public settings. In addition, the report recommends educating venue operators, staff, exhibitors, and visitors regarding the risk for disease transmission where animal contact is possible.