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A One Health message about bats increases intentions to follow public health guidance on bat rabies

By Hang Lu, Katherine A. McComas, Danielle E. Buttke, Sungjong Roh, Margaret A. Wild

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Since 1960, bat rabies variants have become the greatest source of human rabies deaths in the United States. Improving rabies awareness and preventing human exposure to rabid bats remains a national public health priority today. Concurrently, conservation of bats and the ecosystem benefits they provide is of increasing importance due to declining populations of many bat species. This study used a visitor-intercept experiment (N = 521) in two U.S. national parks where human and bat interactions occur on an occasional basis to examine the relative persuasiveness of four messages differing in the provision of benefit and uncertainty information on intentions to adopt a rabies exposure prevention behavior. We found that acknowledging benefits of bats in a risk message led to greater intentions to adopt the recommended rabies exposure prevention behavior without unnecessarily stigmatizing bats. These results signify the importance of communicating benefits of bats in bat rabies prevention messages to benefit both human and wildlife health.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2016
Publication Title PLoS ONE
Volume 11
Issue 5
Pages 8
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0156205
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal health and hygiene
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Bats
  6. One Health
  7. open access
  8. Rabies
  9. United States of America
  10. Wild animals
  1. open access