Collaboration Opportunities Exist for Human Healthcare Practitioners and Veterinarians

Gonzalo Bearman, MD, MPH, hospital epidemiologist, Virginia Commonwealth University, explains the importance of collaborations between healthcare providers and veterinarians to understand the risks of infection transmission between animals and humans.

Gonzalo Bearman, MD, MPH, hospital epidemiologist, Virginia Commonwealth University, explains the importance of collaborations between healthcare providers and veterinarians to understand the risks of infection transmission between animals and humans.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Greater collaborations between animal-assisted therapy programs, the component parts, the administration, and also the infectious disease services associated with that, could collaborate with veterinarians to get a better understanding of a couple of things.

Number one, is the rate at which diseases occur in humans, [similar to the rate at which they] occur in animals? [And] whether or not bacteria, such as [Staphylococcus] aureus, or Clostridium difficile, or Streptococcus, [have] real prevalence or carriage between humans and animals. It may not just go from animal to human, it could go from human to animal also- so it could go both ways.

And last, but not least, is trying to get a sense of what the risks are. I was asked this today* in one of the sessions actually, ‘there’s a risk to the human, what risk is there to the animal, of having some sort of untoward consequence from being a participant in animal in a healthcare setting visit?’”

This interview was recorded at the 2016 annual spring conference for The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), held in Atlanta, Georgia.