Zoonotic Diseases

Animals play an important role in the lives of humans, providing both psychological and physiological benefits. However interactions with animals can pose a risk for zoonoses, diseases of animals that can be transferred to humans, leading to infection and disease.

Many zoonotic diseases, such as rabies or ringworm, have been around for hundreds of years. Others, such as cat scratch disease or leptospirosis, are new or emerging diseases. In fact, reports indicate that over 75% of emerging pathogens in humans are considered zoonotic diseases.

People who have close contact with animals, whether it is pet owners, livestock producers, or animal health providers, can be at increased risk for zoonotic diseases. Additionally, individuals with weakened immune systems, such as children, the elderly or pregnant women, can also be at increased risk.

Fortunately, most zoonotic diseases can be avoided with proper prevention measures and maintenance of optimum health in humans and animals. Veterinary and human healthcare professionals should collaborate to promote health and prevention measures for animals and people and in efforts to reduce the incidence of zoonotic diseases.

The CFSPH has developed a number of resources on zoonotic diseases to help raise awareness and knowledge of specific zoonotic diseases and their risk factors, as well as promote prevention steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

Zoonotic Specific Products

Zoonoses: Protecting People and Their Pets
This textbook provides veterinary and human health professionals information on zoonotic diseases of companion animals

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Diseases from Selected Zoonotic Agents Wallchart
This wallchart lists numerous zoonotic disease agents, their transmission routes, human and animal clinical signs, and incubation periods.

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Select Zoonotic Diseases of Companion Animals Wallchart
This wallchart summarizes numerous zoonotic disease agents and their transmission routes, incubation period, animal species affected, and clinical signs in animals and humans.

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Pet birds.


Protect your staff or yourself when working with animals.

The 2015 Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions for Zoonotic Disease Prevention in Veterinary Personnel, published by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) describes routine prevention practices designed to minimize transmission of zoonotic pathogens from animals to veterinary personnel. The Compendium also includes a Model Infection Control Plan for Veterinary Practices to help guide practices in the implementation of preventive measures.

Resources and Diseases by Species

Aquatic Animals Bovine
Canine Cervids
Equine Feline
Honey Bees Humans
Non-Poultry Birds Pocket Pets
Poultry Small Ruminants