Zoonotic disease management and infection control practices among veterinarians in the united arab emirates

Ihab Habib, Zainab Alshehhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study was conducted to assess zoonotic disease management and infection control practices (ICPs) among veterinarians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A questionnaire was developed in SurveyMonkey, an online tool, and was distributed by email during February–May 2020 to 470 veterinarians practicing across the UAE. A total of 110 individuals completed the survey, giving a response rate of 23.4% (110/470). Results indicate that reported hand hygiene, sharps management, barrier or isolation practices, and personal choices for personal protective equipment (PPE) in common practice scenarios varied among practitioners. The majority (>75%) of veterinarians in all practice types reported always washing their hands before eating, drinking, or smoking at work. The survey revealed that 19% and 10% of large and small animal veterinarians indicated they sterilized and reused disposable needles. Veterinarians among all practices indicated high rates (75% to 80%) of recapping needles before disposal. When handling an animal suspected of having a zoonotic disease, most (90%) of small animal veterinarians reported always using practices such as isolating the animal and removing outwear before contact with other animals. However, only half (55%) of the large animal respondents reported always isolating the animal or sterilizing all equipment used on the animal of concern. Fewer than half of the large animal (35%) and mixed practice (44%) veterinarians indicated they would always be limiting human contact with the animal of concern. All of the small animal respondents reported full compliance with PPE while performing surgery and necropsy. Among large animal veterinarians, 44% reported not using respiratory or eye protection when aiding with parturition or handling conception products. Failure to use appropriate PPE when handling blood samples was the second most common noncompliant practice among large animal (39%) veterinarians and mixed practice (41%) respondents. Our study indicates a need for continuous education regarding ICPs in the veterinary community in the UAE. Better awareness of the risk of zoonotic disease exposure and options for managing this risk and liability issues could drive the adoption of infection control practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Infection prevention
  • Occupational health
  • Veterinary public health
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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