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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2011 May;105(5):254-61. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 5.

'Zoonoses? Not sure what that is...' An assessment of knowledge of zoonoses among medical students in India.

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Public Health Foundation of India, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, 4 Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110 070, India.


This study focuses on estimating knowledge of zoonoses among medical students and recent graduates, with an aim of understanding critical gaps in medical education with respect to zoonoses. A semi-structured tool for knowledge assessment, having nine principal domains of knowledge and five domains of practice, was developed and validated. Using this tool, cross-sectional data was collected from 364 medical students and recent graduates and knowledge scores were calculated based on pre-defined guidelines. Out of the 364 respondents, only 10 defined zoonoses accurately (2.8%). Only 33.7% of the respondents in the public college (62 out of 184) and 3.3% in the private college (6 out of 180) could correctly name three common parasitic zoonoses in India. Only 5.5% of respondents (20 out of 361) were able to identify rabies as a disease transmitted by animals other than dogs. Knowledge on all emerging and new infectious diseases was poor. The average knowledge score was 64% in the public medical college and 41.4% in the private medical college. These poor scores imply that, on average, a student knows only 40-60% of what is needed to diagnose, treat and report zoonotic diseases effectively. Considering the changing landscape of infectious diseases, the current medical curriculum needs to be revised to improve understanding of existing zoonoses and also include emerging diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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