Injuries to staff engaged in foot-and-mouth disease eradication in Japan

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Abstract

Background

In April 2010, a large-scale outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly infectious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, was reported in Miyazaki prefecture in Japan. Many staff were dispatched to the epidemic area to undertake containment measures. Various injuries were reported among the dispatched staff.

Aims

To study the characteristics of injuries that occurred during containment measures and to identify the characteristics of those injured.

Methods

We analysed records of injuries that occurred among staff dispatched from national organizations and prefectures other than Miyazaki prefecture. Based on these records, a qualitative analysis was conducted for veterinarians and non-veterinarian support staff as each group played a different role during the outbreak.

Results

Forty-seven veterinarians and 183 support staff were injured. The injury risk was significantly higher for support staff (13%) than for veterinarians (5%; P < 0.001). The most frequently reported injury resulted from exposure to disinfectant and the next was abrasions caused by friction from protective clothing and rubber boots. Among veterinarians, needlestick accidents were also frequently reported.

Conclusions

Applying a less hazardous disinfectant and improving protective equipment to prevent skin abrasion may be effective in reducing the risk of these injuries among staff conducting containment measures. Reducing injuries among staff in such circumstances will assist effective control measures.

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