Assessing Risk Factors for Work-Related Injury & Illness
By Michelle Hawkins, Director
Wildlife rehabilitation work is both rewarding and challenging. Some of those challenges include understanding the risks of work-related injury and zoonotic disease transmission associated with close contact to wildlife.
Previous research has pointed to zoonotic disease risks from close animal contact and lack of sufficient training on zoonoses and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) among veterinarians, marine mammal rehabilitators, and domestic animal shelter workers.
A study developed by Ramzi Eid (V 2015) and Drs. Woutrina Miller and Laurie Harris aims to evaluate risk factors among terrestrial wildlife rehabilitators by evaluating the results of an anonymous, online survey distributed nationally and internationally, which has been graciously pilot tested by people at the California Raptor Center.
The results of this study will include characterization of personal protective behaviors and zoonotic disease training, as well as an assessment of risk factors for work-related injury and illness. Ultimately, their goal is for this information to be used by wildlife rehabilitators to improve the health of workers and volunteers and to prevent injury and disease.