[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zoonoses, diseases that can spread under natural conditions between humans and other animals, are become a major public health concern in many countries including Canada. In Canada, investigations of zoonotic disease incidents are often conducted by public health inspectors (PHIs). However, little is known about PHIs' knowledge of transmission of zoonotic pathogens, their perceptions of zoonotic disease importance or their education regarding zoonotic diseases. The objective of this study was therefore to assess the knowledge, perceptions and education of Canadian PHIs regarding zoonotic diseases. Data were collected from December 2008-January 2009 using an internet-based survey distributed to members of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors national listserv. Responses were received from 229 PHIs in four provinces, with a response rate of approximately 20%. The majority of respondents reported at least 10 years of experience in the public health sector, 80% (181/225) were in frontline positions, and 62% (137/222) were routinely involved in investigations of infectious diseases. Two-thirds believed that the importance of zoonotic diseases with regards to public health would increase in the next 5 years. Whilst most respondents were able to correctly identify animals capable of directly transmitting common zoonotic pathogens, there were gaps in knowledge, particularly with regard to rabies and transmission of gastrointestinal pathogens by companion animals. PHIs tended to feel that their training on zoonotic diseases prior to working as PHIs was deficient in some areas, or left some room for improvement. Their responses also suggested that there is a need for improvement in both the quantity and the quality of continuing education on zoonotic diseases. In particular, less than one-third of PHIs received ongoing continuing education regarding zoonotic diseases, and of those that did, nearly two-thirds rated the quantity and quality as only fair.
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Zoonoses and Public Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Petting zoos are popular attractions, but can also be associated with zoonotic disease outbreaks. Hand hygiene is critical to reducing disease risks; however, compliance can be poor. Video observation of petting zoo visitors was used to assess animal and environmental contact and hand hygiene compliance. Compliance was also compared over five hand hygiene intervention periods. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression were used for analysis. Overall hand hygiene compliance was 58% (340/583). Two interventions had a significant positive association with hand hygiene compliance [improved signage with offering hand sanitizer, odds ratio (OR) 3·38, P<0·001; verbal hand hygiene reminders, OR 1·73, P=0·037]. There is clearly a need to improve hand hygiene compliance at this and other animal exhibits. This preliminary study was the first to demonstrate a positive impact of a hand hygiene intervention at a petting zoo. The findings suggest that active, rather than passive, interventions are more effective for increasing compliance.
No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Epidemiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an emerging veterinary and zoonotic pathogen, associated with increasing reports of disease in horses.
To provide an overview of the characteristics of clinical MRSA infections in horses.
A retrospective case study was performed on 115 horses admitted to 6 participating veterinary teaching hospitals in Canada and the United States between 2000 and 2006, and diagnosed with clinical MRSA infection. Descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariable analyses for community- (CA) vs. hospital-associated (HA) MRSA infections, and survival vs. nonsurvival at discharge were performed.
The age range of MRSA-infected horses was zero (born in hospital) to 31 years. HA (58/114, 50.9%) and CA infections (56/114, 49.1%) were equally common. Infection of surgical incisions was most frequently reported (44/115, 38.0%). Overall 93/111 (83.8%) cases survived to discharge. Previous hospitalisation and treatment with gentamicin were associated significantly with CA-MRSA, whereas infected incision sites were associated significantly with HA-MRSA. Factors significantly associated with nonsurvival included i.v. catheterisation, CA-MRSA infection and dissemination of infection to other body sites.
Equine MRSA infections have a broad range of clinical presentations, appear to be primarily opportunistic and the overall prognosis for survival to discharge is good.
These results should help direct future research with regard to investigation of risk factors for equine MRSA infection in community and hospital populations.
Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Equine Veterinary Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcal (MRS) colonization in clinically normal dogs and horses in the community.
Three hundred clinically normal horses and 200 clinically normal dogs were enrolled. One nasal swab was collected from each horse. Two swabs were taken from each dog: (i) from an anterior nare, and (ii) a combination of the perineal area and 0.5 cm into the anus. Enrichment cultures were performed. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was not identified. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus intermedius (MRSI) was isolated from the nasal swab from three dogs. Methicillin-resistant coagulase negative staphylococci (MRCoNS) were isolated from 126/300 (42%) horses and 26/200 (13%) dogs.
At present MRSI is not considered to be a significant zoonotic concern; however, it may become an important pathogen in dogs. MRCoNS mostly cause disease in compromised human or animal hosts. However, these bacteria can serve as reservoirs of resistance determinants in the community, which could lead to the emergence of novel MRSA strains.
This is the first report of the prevalence of MRS colonization in clinically normal dogs in a community setting. Continued surveillance is indicated to determine whether MRSA will emerge in the animal population and become a concern for animal disease and zoonotic infection.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2007 · Letters in Applied Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Probiotics have not been demonstrated to provide any beneficial health effects in horses, possibly because of improper selection of probiotic organisms. This study was designed to identify lactic acid bacteria of equine origin with predetermined beneficial properties which might make them useful as therapeutic probiotics.
A small percentage of lactic acid bacteria that are native to the intestinal tract of horses possess properties that may be useful in the treatment and/or prevention of gastrointestinal disease in horses.
Faecal samples were collected from healthy mature horses and foals. Lactic acid bacteria were isolated and tested for the ability to grow in acid and bile environments, aerotolerance and in vitro inhibition of enteropathogens. One isolate that possessed these properties was administered orally to healthy mature horses and foals and gastrointestinal survival was assessed.
Of the 47 tested organisms, 18 were deemed to be adequately acid- and bile-tolerant. All were aerotolerant. Four organisms markedly inhibited Salmonella spp. One isolate, Lactobacillus pentosus WE7, was subjectively superior and chosen for further study. It was also inhibitory against E. coli, moderately inhibitory against S. zooepidemicus and C. difficile and mildly inhibitory against C. perfringens. After oral administration, this isolate was recovered from the faeces of 8/9 (89%) foals and 7/8 (87.5%) mature horses.
Lactobacillus pentosus WE7 possesses in vitro and in vivo properties that may be useful for the prevention and treatment of enteric disease in horses.
The beneficial in vitro and in vivo properties that L. pentosus WE7 possesses indicate that randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled efficacy studies are warranted.
No preview · Article · Jun 2004 · Equine Veterinary Journal