What Is a Zoonotic Disease?

While animals provide many benefits to humans such as friendship, entertainment, meat, dairy, etc. Some are known for carrying germs that may be spread to humans and cause illness. These are known as zoonotic diseases, which are caused by germ-like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Some animals who appear healthy may carry germs that could potentially make a human sick.

Symptoms may range from mild to serious illness, and even death, in both humans and animals.

How do Zoonotic Germs Spread Between Animals and Humans?

Zoonotic diseases may spread through direct contact, indirect contact, vector-borne or foodborne.

Direct contact means you have come into contact with urine, feces, blood or any sort of bodily fluids from an infected animal. For example, if you are petting an animal and it bites or scratches you.

Indirect contact means coming into contact with areas where animals may live or roam. For example, chicken coop, fish aquarium, soil, pet food and water, etc.

Vector-Borne means being bitten by an insect, such as a tick, mosquito, flea, etc.

Some animals who appear healthy may carry germs that could potentially make a human sick.

Food Borne means eating contaminated food or drinking something unsafe. Such as unpasteurized milk, undercooked meat or eggs, raw fruits or veggies contaminated with feces, etc.

What Can You do to Protect You and Your Family From Zoonotic Diseases?

It’s still safe for people to come into contact with animals, as there are many places where you can do so; Such as Petting Zoos, fairs, schools, parks. Mosquitos, fleas and ticks are always out and about, and sometimes it’s too late.

Here are some tips and tricks to protect you and your family from zoonotic diseases;

  • Wash your hands(with soap)!!! Especially after touching an animal, even if you didn’t touch any animals, is one of the most important things to remember.
  • Insect repellant to keep the pesky insects away.
  • Know the simple basics of pet handling.
  • Keep updated on the most common zoonotic diseases.
  • Learn how to safely handle food while cooking

Written by: Nat Simpkins, Client Care Representative