Zoonoses are infections that are naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to human beings and vice-versa. A questionnaire-based survey of animal health workers (n=72) and human health workers (n=72) was carried out between the periods of January 2013 to September 2014 in Jimma zone, South West Ethiopia with the intentions to assess perception of zoonoses and risks relating to zoonotic infections among animal health and human health workers in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia. Combinations of closed and open-ended questionnaire survey were performed to gather data. The results demonstrated that rabies, tuberculosis and anthrax were considered the three most common zoonotic diseases. Sharing living accommodation with animals, consumption of un-treated livestock products (milk, meat or eggs) and attending to parturition were perceived as routes of transmission. Perception about zoonoses was higher in animal health workers (86%; 62/72) than human health workers (P<0.05). Most of the respondents stated cooking of meat or boiling of milk as a way to prevent transmission. However, there was a significant difference in the perception of the risk posed by contact with potentially infected animals /or animal products with animal health workers having a much higher level of perception compared to human health workers (P<0.05). These results suggest that in Jimma Zone, patchy perception of zoonoses, combined with food consumption habits and poor animal husbandry are likely to expose respondents to an increased risk of contracting zoonoses. Public health promotion on education and inter-disciplinary one-health collaboration between veterinarians, public health practitioners and policy makers should result in a more efficient and effective joint approach to the diagnosis and control of zoonoses in Ethiopia.
Keywords: Perception, Zoonoses, Risk, Animal Health Workers, Human Health Workers, Jimma Zone, Ethiopia