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Hawaii Veterinarians' Bioterrorism Preparedness Needs Assessment Survey

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the objective bioterrorism-related knowledge base and the perceived response readiness of veterinarians in Hawaii to a bioterrorism event, and also to identify variables associated with knowledge-based test performance. An anonymous survey instrument was mailed to all licensed veterinarians residing in Hawaii (N = 229) up to three times during June and July 2004, using numeric identifiers to track non-respondents. The response rate for deliverable surveys was 59% (125 of 212). Only 12% (15 of 123) of respondents reported having had prior training on bioterrorism. Forty-four percent (55 of 125) reported being able to identify a bioterrorism event in animal populations; however, only 17% (21 of 125) felt able to recognize a bioterrorism event in human populations. Only 16% (20 of 123) felt they were able to respond effectively to a bioterrorist attack. Over 90% (106 of 116) expressed their willingness to provide assistance to the state in its response to a bioterrorist event. Veterinarians scored a mean of 70% correct (5.6 out of 8 questions) on the objective knowledge-based questions. Additional bioterrorism preparedness training should be made available, both in the form of continuing educational offerings for practicing veterinarians and as a component of the curriculum in veterinary schools.

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