Consideration of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases during Differential Diagnosis

Steven T. Peper, Adam C. Jones, Cynthia Reinoso Webb, Mark Lacy, Steven M. Presley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Recognition and reporting of vector-borne and zoonotic disease (VBZD) cases is largely dependent upon the consideration of such diseases by healthcare practitioners during the initial diagnosis and ordering of specific confirmative diagnostic tests. This study was conducted to assess the general knowledge and understanding of VBZD transmission and clinical presentation. METHODS: Healthcare practitioners were surveyed to determine the extent of training and educational experiences they received relative to VBZDs, and their likelihood to consider such diseases during differential diagnoses. In addition, an assessment of their knowledge of arthropod species that may transmit VBZD pathogens was conducted. RESULTS: Having postprofessional school training relevant to VBZDs significantly influenced diagnostic accuracy for such disease cases based on the presented clinical signs and symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of VBZDs in the United States likely is significantly underestimated. The authors suggest the enhancement of VBZD-focused education as an important initiative that would significantly improve timely diagnosis, treatment, and, ultimately, prevention of these diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021


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