Development of a Zoonosis Training Module for AZA Institutions
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2011
Donald L. Janssen1, DVM, DACZM; Gary Priest2, BA; Carol Roach3, RN, PHN
1San Diego Zoo Global, Escondido, CA, USA; 2San Diego Zoo Global, San Diego CA, USA; 3Community Epidemiology Branch, Health and Human Services Agency, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA


An online training program on zoonoses and infection control was developed for the purpose of educating animal care staff at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institution. An online training tool was chosen in order to train new employees quickly and to account for who has completed the training. The training focuses on specific principles and skills necessary for preventing zoonotic disease transmission in a zoo environment, rather than teaching details of specific zoonotic diseases. Course resources include multiple case studies and links to significant professional resources as an aid in the application of industry best practices.1-7

The training covers four major topics including infection control principles, biosecurity, personal habits, and professional responsibility. Key learning objectives include:

1.  Understanding basic principles in zoonotic disease prevention including factors necessary for disease transmission, transmission pathways, and rules of infection control.

2.  Understanding the importance of effective hand washing in an animal care environment.

3.  Having a general understanding of biosecurity measures used in zoos and how to apply them to daily animal care activities.

4.  Knowing how to apply principles of cleaning and disinfection, and how to use disinfectants for specific purposes.

5.  Understanding how personal responsibility and habits at work can be used to decrease the risk of disease transmission.

6.  Understanding key preventive measures that animal care staff can take to protect their personal health.

7.  Understanding how personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to reduce the risk to animal care staff from zoonotic diseases in the zoo animal care environment.

Literature Cited

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings: Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. 2002;MMWR 51(No. RR-16).

2.  Compendium of measures to prevent disease associated with animals in public settings, 2009: National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV). MMWR. Recommendations and reports: Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports/Centers for Disease Control 58(RR-5):1-21.

3.  Dvorak G. Disinfection 101. Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University 22. (VIN editor: link was not accessible as of 12/22/2020.) 2005.

4.  Elchos BL, Scheftel JM, Cherry B, et al. Compendium of veterinary standard precautions for zoonotic disease prevention in veterinary personnel. JAVMA. 2008;233(3):415–432.

5.  Janssen DL, Bicknese B, Burns R, Papendick R, Sutherland-Smith M, Lamberski N, Morris P. Guidelines for managing cases diagnosed with a zoonotic disease agent. In: Proceedings AAZV/AAWV Joint Conference. 2009;49–50.

6.  Janssen DL, Rideout B. General biosecurity guidelines for zoos. In: Proceedings AAZV/AAWV Joint Conference. 2010; 58:244–245.

7.  Miller RE. AZA Policy for Animal Contact with the General Public. Adopted by the AZA Board of Directors 1997, incorporated into the Accreditation Guidelines in 1998. (VIN editor: link was not accessible as of 12/22/2020.) Accessed Apr 1, 2011. 1997.


Speaker Information
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Donald L. Janssen, DVM, DACZM
San Diego Zoo Global
Escondido, CA, USA

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