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Keywords:

  • African American;
  • bilingual;
  • education;
  • gender;
  • Hispanics;
  • Latino;
  • public health;
  • rabies;
  • urban;
  • zoonotic disease

ABSTRACT

Human behaviors play a fundamental role in the epidemiology of urban wildlife diseases, and those behaviors are shaped by knowledge and ethnicity. We evaluated knowledge of rabies, transmission routes, vector species, and response to rabies exposure with a bilingual (English/Spanish) in-person survey in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ethnicity, gender, and education level were predictors of rabies knowledge. Latinos and African Americans had less rabies knowledge than non-Latino Whites. Non-Latino Whites and men had less knowledge than women. Only 41% of African American respondents identified animal bites as a route of rabies transmission to humans, and less than half of all respondents knew that washing a bite wound with soap and water was useful rabies prevention. Our knowledge scale was internally consistent (Cronbach's alpha = 0.73) and could be valuable for future studies of zoonotic disease knowledge. Future rabies educational campaigns should focus on developing culturally sensitive, language appropriate educational materials geared to minorities. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.