Public awareness of rabies and compliance with pet vaccination laws in Connecticut, 1993

R S Nelson, P A Mshar, M L Cartter, M L Adams, J L Hadler
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 1998 May 15, 212 (10): 1552-5

OBJECTIVE: To determine the degree of public awareness of rabies and compliance with cat and dog vaccination laws in Connecticut in 1993.

DESIGN: Monthly telephone surveys.

SAMPLE POPULATION: 1,810 households.

PROCEDURE: A telephone interview was conducted, using rables-related questions contained in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, with an adult member from households randomly selected statewide by telephone number. Results of the surveys for the year were aggregated, and weighted data were analyzed.

RESULTS: Ninety percent of respondents had heard about rabies during the preceding year, and 84% considered it a problem in Connecticut. Forty-seven percent of households surveyed owned dogs or cats. Ninety-three percent of dogs and 80% of cats were reported to be vaccinated against rabies. Twenty-two percent of households with cats had at least 1 cat that was not current on rabies vaccination.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: In Connecticut, an epizootic of rabies in raccoons was accompanied by a high degree of awareness of rabies and rate of reported vaccination of dogs and cats. However, vaccination of cats was less common than that of dogs. Public education efforts should emphasize the necessity to vaccinate cats and to avoid contact with unknown cats in rabies epizootic or enzootic areas. A surveillance system can be used to help evaluate public health programs.

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