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Zoonoses

ZOONOSES

Zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, are caused by infectious agents that are transmissible under natural circumstances from vertebrate animals to humans. Zoonoses may arise from wild or domestic animals or from products of animal origin. Zoonoses have been known since early hystorical times. There are biblical references to plague, a bacterial zoonosis mainly transmitted to humans by fleas; and some historians contend that a disease first described by Thucydides during the Plague of Athens (430425 b.c.e.) was typhus, a louse-borne zoonosis (Zinsser). Certain zoonoses, such as yellow fever, malaria, and rabies, are well known to the general public, but a vast number of lesser-known zoonoses exist in limited cycles in different parts of the world. There are undoubtedly many zoonoses lurking in nature that have the potential to cause serious public health consequences if introduced into humans. This is, in fact, what may be our greatest concern about zoonosesnot the diseases that we know they are capable of causing, but the hidden potential of what diseases might arise in the future. Examples that foster our concern include the emergence of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) from nonhuman primates, which has developed into one of the most significant infectious disease threats in the world today, and the crossing of the species barrier of certain influenza virus strains that have led to large human pandemics. Diseases such as AIDS and influenza have their origins as zoonoses, but they subsequently adapted to human-to-human transmission.

There are a number of different types of microbial agents that cause zoonotic diseases, and various ways humans can become infected with these agents. This may best be explained by a few examples: (1) Lyme disease, a bacterial disease transmitted via the bite of an infected tick;(2) rabies, a viral disease acquired by the bite of an infected animal; (3) Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a viral disease spread by infected blood, tissues, secretions, or excretions; (4) hantaviral disease, a disease contracted by inhaling air contaminated with virus-infected excreta from rodents; (5) leptospirosis, a bacterial disease usually transmitted to humans through contact with urine from infected animals; (6) brucellosis, a bacterial disease contracted by ingestion of unpasteurized milk; and (7) cat-scratch disease, a disease contracted through bites or licks of infected cats.

Enteric bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli and parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia are responsible for major food-borne and waterborne disease outbreaks around the world, and recently the nonmicrobial, transmissible agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) appears to have crossed over to humans to produce a degenerative neurological disease known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

There has been a disturbing trend of reemergence of previously recognized zoonoses that were believed to be under control. This has been coupled with the emergence of new zoonotic diseases. Numerous factors may account for this, including: (1) alteration of the environment, affecting the size and distribution of certain animal species, vectors, and transmitters of infectious agents to humans; (2) increasing human populations causing an increased level of contact between humans and infected animals; (3) industrialization of foods of animal originthat is, changes in food processing and consumer nutritional habits; (4) increasing movements of people, as well as an increased trade in animals and animal products; and (5) decreasing surveillance and control of some of the major zoonoses. Some supposedly "new zoonoses" have been around for a long time but have simply not been recognized. For example, several types of hantaviruses are transmitted by rodents such as deer mice and can cause the disease known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. This disease has likely been around for decades, if not centuries, but human cases were first documented only in 1993. In addition, global warming has the potential to broaden the geographic distribution and abundance of arthropods as well as the vertebrate hosts in which some zoonoses persist.

There is no single clinical picture that can be drawn of zoonoses, given the diverse group of microorganisms that are capable of causing zoonotic diseases. A partial list of symptoms may include some, but not all, of the following: fever (sometimes hemorrhagic), headache, rash, muscle aches, arthritis, respiratory distress (sometimes pneumonia), abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, cardiac abnormalities, and neurological involvement ranging from stiff neck to meningitis or encephalitis. The course of disease varies between different zoonotic pathogens but can be more severe in the very young or very old, or in individuals who are immunocompromised. Many zoonoses can be treated with antimicrobial drugs, but there are few drugs that can be used to successfully treat viral zoonoses. Treatment for a known or suspected exposure to a viral zoonosis such as rabies involves administration of immune globulin, whereas only supportive treatment can be offered for many other viral zoonoses.

Vaccines are available for the general public for a small number of zoonoses, such as Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever, and on a limited basis for individuals perceived to be at occupational or recreational risk. In addition, chemoprophylactic regimens such as antimalarial drugs are recommended for travellers to high disease-risk areas. The risk of contracting vector-borne diseases can be reduced by avoidance of areas infested by arthropods, use of insect repellents, and appropriate clothing (the less skin exposed the better). Occasionally it is possible to reduce zoonotic disease risks by decreasing the abundance of certain reservoir hosts such as rodents. Individuals should also not drink untreated water or unpasteurized milk. Areas containing potentially contaminated animal material such as rodent excreta should be cleaned using appropriate disinfectants. Patients with diseases such as Ebola virus should be kept in strict isolation. Diseases such as tularemia and leptospirosis may be contracted by handling infected animal tissue, so trappers should use gloves when handling dead animals.

The disease incidence and pattern of occurrence of zoonoses varies greatly between different regions within a country and between countries. In general, zoonoses do not occur in large numbers in the industrialized world. Because of this relative infrequency of occurrence, some zoonotic infections may be overlooked and underdiagnosed.

Certain individuals may be at greater risk for contracting zoonoses. These include people with occupational exposure, such as veterinarians, farmers, and slaughterhouse workers, or individuals who participate in outdoor recreational activities, such as hunters. The best defense against contracting zoonoses is education. Individuals should be aware of the respective zoonoses that may be circulating in their environment and the times of year of greatest risk for contracting these zoonoses. This type of information is generally available from public health departments and veterinarians, and can also be found on the Internet.

Harvey Artsob

(see also: Communicable Disease Control; Ecosystems; Epidemics; Epidemiology; Vector-Borne Diseases; Veterinary Public Health; and articles on diseases mentioned herein )

Bibliography

Lederberg, J.; Shope, R. E.; and Oaks, S. C. (1992). Emerging Infections. Microbial Threats to Health in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Meslin, F. X. (1997). "Global Aspects of Emerging and Potential Zoonoses: A WHO Perspective." Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 3. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Zinsser, H. (1934). Rats, Lice, and History. Boston: Little, Brown.

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Zoonoses

Zoonoses

Zoonoses are diseases of microbiological origin that can be transmitted from animals to people. The causes of the diseases can be bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.

As of 2005, the best scientific evidence available suggested that the cornonavirus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was originally transmitted from animal hosts. Also, the avian flu, which until 2004 was resident in poultry, has caused a number of human deaths and now appears able to be transmitted both from poultry to felines and, ominously in terms of a global epidemic, from human to human.

Zoonoses are relevant for humans because of their species-jumping ability. Because many germs that can transfer from species to species are found in domestic animals and birds, agricultural workers and those in food processing plants are at risk. From a research standpoint, zoonotic diseases are interesting as they result from organisms that can live in a host innocuously while producing disease upon entry into a different host environment.

Humans can develop zoonotic diseases in different ways, depending upon the microorganism. Entry through a cut in the skin can occur with some bacteria. Inhalation of bacteria, viruses, and fungi is also a common method of transmission. As well, the ingestion of improperly cooked food or inadequately treated water that has been contaminated with the fecal material from animals or birds presents another route of disease transmission.

A classic historical example of a zoonotic disease is yellow fever. The construction of the Panama Canal took humans into the previously unexplored regions of the Central American jungle, where mosquitoes ferried the yellow fever virus from monkeys to man. When mosquitoes fed upon an infected monkey (the disease's natural host), the virus passed into the mosquito (the vector), which in turn, infected humans with their bite. Only after mosquito prevention measures were employed about 1910, with techniques such as the use of mosquito netting to cover tents and water supplies, were efforts successful in carving the canal through the jungle.

A number of bacterial zoonotic diseases are known. A few examples are Tularemia , which is caused by Francisella tulerensis, Leptospirosis (Leptospiras spp. ), Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi ), Chlaydiosis (Chlamydia psittaci ), Salmonellosis (Salmonella spp. ), Brucellosis (Brucella melitensis, suis, and abortus, Q-fever (Coxiella burnetti ), and Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter jejuni ).

Zoonoses produced by fungi include Aspergillosis (Aspergillus fumigatus ). Well-known viral zoonoses include rabies and encephalitis. The microorganisms called Chlamydia cause a pneumonia-like disease called psittacosis.

Within the past two decades two protozoan zoonoses have emerged. These are Giardia (also commonly known as "beaver fever"), which is caused by Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium, which is caused by Cryptosporidium parvum. These protozoans reside in many vertebrates, particularly those associated with wilderness areas. The increasing encroachment of human habitations with wilderness is bringing the animals, and their resident microbial flora, into closer contact with people.

Similarly, human encroachment is thought to be the cause for the emergence of devastatingly fatal viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola, Marburg, and Rift Valley fever. While the origin of these agents is not definitively known, zoonotic transmission is virtually assumed.

Outbreaks of "mad cow" disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) among cattle in the United Kingdom in the 1990s (the latest being in 2001) has established a probable zoonotic link between these animals and humans, involving the disease causing entities known as prions . While the story is not fully resolved, the current evidence supports the transmission of the prion agent of mad cow disease to humans, where the similar brain degeneration disease is known as variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease.

The increasing incidence of these and other zoonotic diseases has been linked to the increased ease of global travel. Microorganisms are more globally portable than ever before. This, combined with the innate ability of microbes to adapt to new environments, has created new combinations of microorganism and susceptible human populations.

see also Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Mad cow disease investigation; Pathogens.

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Zoonoses

Zoonoses

BRIAN HOYLE

Zoonoses are diseases of microbiological origin that can be transmitted from animals to people. The causes of the diseases can be bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.

Some zoonotic diseases are identified as potential diseases (e.g., Tularemia) could be exploited by bioterrorists to cause deathincluding death or contamination of livestockand widespread economic damage. As of May 2003, the best scientific evidence available suggested that the cornonavirus responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was originally transmitted from animal hosts.

Zoonoses are relevant for humans because of their species-jumping ability. Because many of the causative microbial agents are resident in domestic animals and birds, agricultural workers and those in food processing plants are at risk. From a research standpoint, zoonotic diseases are interesting as they result from organisms that can live in a host innocuously while producing disease upon entry into a different host environment.

Humans can develop zoonotic diseases in different ways, depending upon the microorganism. Entry through a cut in the skin can occur with some bacteria. Inhalation of bacteria, viruses, and fungi is also a common method of transmission. As well, the ingestion of improperly cooked food or inadequately treated water that has been contaminated with the fecal material from animals or birds present another route of disease transmission.

A classic historical example of a zoonotic disease is yellow fever. The construction of the Panama Canal took humans into the previously unexplored regions of the Central American jungle.

A number of bacterial zoonotic diseases are known. A few examples are Tularemia, which is caused by Francisella tulerensis, Leptospirosis (Leptospiras spp. ), Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi ), Chlaydiosis (Chlamydia psittaci ), Salmonellosis (Salmonella spp. ), Brucellosis (Brucella melitensis, suis, and abortus ), Q-fever (Coxiella burnetti ), and Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter jejuni ).

Zoonoses produced by fungi, and the organism responsible, include Aspergillosis (Aspergillus fumigatus ). Well-known viral zoonoses include rabies and encephalitis. The microorganisms called Chlamydia cause a pneumonia-like disease called psittacosis.

Within the past two decades two protozoan zoonoses have definitely emerged. These are Giardia (also commonly known as "beaver fever"), which is caused by Giardia lamblia, and Cryptosporidium, which is caused by Cryptosporidium parvum. These protozoans reside in many vertebrates, particularly those associated with wilderness areas. The increasing encroachment of human habitations with wilderness is bringing the animals, and their resident microbial flora, into closer contact with people.

Similarly, human encroachment is thought to be the cause for the emergence of devastatingly fatal viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola and Rift Valley fever. While the origin of these agents is not definitively known, zoonotic transmission is virtually assumed.

Outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease among cattle and sheep in the United Kingdom (the latest being in 2001) has established an as yet unproven, but compelling, zoonotic link between these animals and humans, involving the disease causing entities known as prions. While the story is not fully resolved, the current evidence supports the transmission of the prion agent of mad cow disease to humans, where the similar brain degeneration disease is known as Creutzfeld-Jacob disease.

The increasing incidence of these and other zoonotic diseases has been linked to the increased ease of global travel. Microorganisms are more globally portable than ever before. This, combined with the innate ability of microbes to adapt to new environments, has created new combinations of microorganism and susceptible human populations.

FURTHER READING:

BOOKS:

Chin, J. "Tularemia." Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2000.

ELECTRONIC:

World Health Organization. WHO Fact Sheets (May, 2003) <http://www.who.int/health-topics/zoonoses.htm> (May 12, 2003).

SEE ALSO

Bioterrorism, Protective Measures
Infectious Disease, Threats to Security

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Zoonoses

Zoonoses

Zoonoses are diseases of microbiological origin that can be transmitted from animals to people. The causes of the diseases can be bacteria , viruses , parasites , and fungi .

Zoonoses are relevant for humans because of their species-jumping ability. Because many of the causative microbial agents are resident in domestic animals and birds, agricultural workers and those in food processing plants are at risk. From a research standpoint, zoonotic diseases are interesting as they result from organisms that can live in a host innocuously while producing disease upon entry into a different host environment.

Humans can develop zoonotic diseases in different ways, depending upon the microorganism. Entry through a cut in the skin can occur with some bacteria. Inhalation of bacteria, viruses, and fungi is also a common method of transmission. As well, the ingestion of improperly cooked food or inadequately treated water that has been contaminated with the fecal material from animals or birds present another route of disease transmission.

A classic historical example of a zoonotic disease is yellow fever . The construction of the Panama Canal took humans into the previously unexplored regions of the Central American jungle. Given the opportunity, transmission from the resident animal species to the newly arrived humans occurred. This phenomenon continues today. Two examples are illustrative of this. First, the clearing of the Amazonian rain forest to provide agricultural land has resulted in the emergence of Mayaro and Oropouche virus infections in the wood-cutters. Second, in the mid 1990s, fatalities in the Southwestern United States were traced to the hanta virus that has been transmitted from rodents to humans.

A number of bacterial zoonotic diseases are known. A few examples are Tularemia , which is caused by Francisella tulerensis, Leptospirosis (Leptospiras spp. ), Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi ), Chlaydiosis (Chlamydia psittaci ), Salmonellosis (Salmonella spp. ), Brucellosis (Brucella melitensis, suis, and abortus, Q-fever (Coxiella burnetti ), and Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter jejuni ).

Zoonoses produced by fungi, and the organism responsible, include Aspergillosis (Aspergillus fumigatus ). Well-known viral zoonoses include rabies and encephalitis. The microorganisms called Chlamydia cause a pneumonia -like disease called psittacosis.

Within the past two decades two protozoan zoonoses have definitely emerged. These are Giardia (also commonly known as "beaver fever"), which is caused by Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium , which is caused by Cryptosporidium parvum. These protozoans reside in many vertebrates, particularly those associated with wilderness areas. The increasing encroachment of human habitations with wilderness is bringing the animals, and their resident microbial flora, into closer contact with people.

Similarly, human encroachment is thought to be the cause for the emergence of devastatingly fatal viral hemorrhagic fevers , such as Ebola and Rift Valley fever. While the origin of these agents is not definitively known, zoonotic transmission is assumed.

In the present day, outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease among cattle and sheep in the United Kingdom (the latest being in 2001) has established an as yet unproven, but compelling, zoonotic link between these animals and humans, involving the disease causing entities known as prions . While the story is not fully resolved, the current evidence supports the transmission of the prion agent of mad cow disease to humans, where the similar brain degeneration disease is known as Creutzfeld-Jacob disease.

The increasing incidence of these and other zoonotic diseases has been linked to the increased ease of global travel. Microorganisms are more globally portable than ever before. This, combined with the innate ability of microbes to adapt to new environments, has created new combinations of microorganism and susceptible human populations.

See also Animal models of infection; Bacteria and bacterial infection

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Zoonoses

Zoonoses

What Are Zoonoses?

Are They Contagious?

Some Examples of Zoonoses

How Are Zoonoses Treated?

How Are Zoonoses Prevented?

Resources

Zoonoses (zoh-ah-NO-seez) are infections that humans contract from animals.

KEYWORDS

for searching the Internet and other reference sources

Cat scratch disease

Hantavirus

Lyme disease

Plague

Psittacosis

Rabies

Toxoplasmosis

Trichinosis

What Are Zoonoses?

Zoonoses are infections caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses that are passed from animals to humans. Most people contract zoonotic (zoh-uh-NAH-tik) infections from animals with which they have a lot of contact, such as pets or farm animals. Wild animals and insects can be the source of disease, too, particularly for diseases spread by the bite of a tick, mosquito, or fly. Animals such as wild rodents and bats also can carry diseases that may be harmful to humans.

Zoonoses can cause minor or serious illness. In some cases, the organisms involved infect people, but they do not become ill. Other zoonoses can be very dangerous to people, especially anyone with an immune system weakened by age or illness.

Are They Contagious?

Most of these infections do not spread from person to person or do so only in rare instances. Usually they are spread from animals to humans in the following ways:

  • from the bite of an infected insect
  • through contact with an animals feces* or urine, either through the mouth or by breathing in dust from dried feces
*feces
(FEE-seez) is the excreted waste from the gastrointestinal tract.
  • from the bite or scratch of an infected animal
  • from eating the meat of an infected animal

Some Examples of Zoonoses

Cat scratch disease

A cat carrying Bartonella henselae (bar-tuh-NEH-luh HEN-suh-lay), the bacterium responsible for cat scratch disease, usually does not have symptoms, but if the bacteria are passed to a human through a scratch or bite, a person may experience skin sores, swollen and sore lymph nodes*, extreme tiredness, headaches, and fever. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection.

*lymph
(LIMF) nodes are small, bean-shaped masses of tissue that contain immune system cells that fight harmful microorganisms. Lymph nodes may swell during infections.
Disease-causing Organism Animal or Insect Carrier Human Disease
Bartonella hensalae bacteria Cats Catscratch disease
Chlamydia psittaci bacteria BirdsPsittacosis
Mononegavirales virus Mammals, including bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotesRabies
Yersinia pestis bacteria Fleas and rodents, including rats, chipmunks, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and micePlague
Hantavirus Rodents, including rats and miceHantavirus pulmonary syndrome
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria Ticks, deer, and miceLyme disease
Toxoplasma gondii bacteria Cats and farm animalsToxoplasmosis
Trichinella larvae Bears, foxes, and other wild game; pigs and horsesTrichinosis

Psittacosis

People who have contact with birds may be at risk for psittacosis (sih-tuh-KO-sis), also known as parrot fever. If a person inhales bird feces or urine particles while cleaning a birds cage, he or she may develop symptoms of pneumonia (nu-MO-nyah, inflammation of the lung), such as fever, coughing, or chest pain. Antibiotics are used to treat psittacosis.

Rabies

A virus that is carried in the saliva of infected animals can cause rabies when transmitted through a bite or, less commonly, through contact with saliva. Symptoms include fever, difficulty swallowing, delirium*, seizures*, and coma*. Death can result if the infection is not treated. Treatment includes intensive care in a hospital. A series of vaccinations* started at the time of a bite from a possibly infected animal can prevent the person from developing the disease. Many mammals, especially raccoons, bats, and dogs, may be infected with rabies, but human rabies is rare in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were no cases of rabies in humans in the United States in 2000. In many other countries, especially those in the developing world, rabies is much more common.

*delirium
(dih-LEER-e-um) is a condition in which a person is confused, is unable to think clearly, and has a reduced level of consciousness.
*seizures
(SEE-zhurs) are sudden bursts of disorganized electrical activity that interrupt the normal functioning of the brain, often leading to uncontrolled movements in the body and sometimes a temporary change in consciousness.
*coma
(KO-ma) is an unconscious state in which a person cannot be awakened and cannot move, see, speak, or hear.
*vaccinations
(vak-sih-NAY-shunz), also called immunizations, are the giving of doses of vaccines, which are preparations of killed or weakened germs, or a part of a germ or product it produces, to prevent or lessen the severity of a disease.

Plague

Plague (PLAYG) is a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis (yer-SIN-e-uh PES-tis). Plague can be transmitted to humans through the bite of a flea that has become infected through contact with an infected rodent, such as a rat. The disease causes such symptoms as fever and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases the infection spreads through the blood and can infect the lungs. If this happens, plague can spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Plague was the cause of huge epidemics* in Europe and Asia during the Middle Ages, and it is still seen in many developing countries. It is seen in many developed countries too, including the United States, although not as many cases occur. The disease can be fatal if it is not treated with antibiotics.

*epidemics
(eh-pih-DEH-miks) are outbreaks of diseases, especially infectious diseases, in which the number of cases suddenly becomes far greater than usual. Usually epidemics are outbreaks of diseases in specific regions, whereas worldwide epidemics are called pandemics.

Hantavirus

Rodents, such as mice and rats, may carry hantavirus (HAN-tuh-vy-rus). This virus can spread to humans when they inhale particles from rodent feces, saliva, or urine. People infected with hantavirus can develop hantavirus pulmonary (PUL-mo-nar-ee) syndrome (HPS), which causes such symptoms as fever, headaches, muscle aches, nausea (NAW-zee-uh), vomiting, diarrhea (dye-uh-REE-uh), abdominal* pain, and chills. In severe cases a person may experience shortness of breath and the lungs may fill with fluid. There is no cure for hantavirus infection, but people who have HPS typically are hospitalized in an intensive care unit, where they receive oxygen and other types of supportive care.

*abdominal
(ab-DAH-mih-nul) refers to the area of the body below the ribs and above the hips that contains the stomach, intestines, and other organs.

Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi (buh-REEL-e-uh burg-DOR-fe-ree) bacteria inside an infected tick can cause Lyme (LIME) disease in humans after a tick attaches to the skin and feeds on a persons blood. Ticks pick up the bacterium by feeding on the blood of infected deer and mice, which serve as reservoirs for the organism. Lyme disease can produce a number of symptoms, such as extreme tiredness, muscle aches, and swollen, painful joints. At the site of the tick bite, some people develop a bulls-eye rash, a red rash surrounded by rings that resembles a bulls-eye target. A person with Lyme disease usually is treated with antibiotics.

Toxoplasmosis

Eating contaminated meat or having contact with the feces of an infected cat can put a person at risk for toxoplasmosis (tox-o-plaz-MO-sis). This zoonosis is caused by a parasite and can produce such symptoms as swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, headaches, and sore throat in a healthy person and life-threatening brain infections in people with weakened immune systems, especially those who have HIV/AIDS*. If a pregnant woman becomes infected with the parasite, she can transmit the infection to her unborn baby, which can lead to a number of health problems in the child.

*AIDS ,
or acquired immunodeficiency (ih-myoo-no-dih-FIH-shen-see) syndrome, is an infection that severely weakens the immune system; it is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Trichinosis

If people eat meat (especially pork products, such as sausage or ham) infected with the eggs of Trichinella (trih-kih-NEH-luh) worms, they can contract trichinosis (trih-kih-NO-sis), a disease that produces such symptoms as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Trichinosis can cause nerve and muscle damage as well as heart and lung problems. It can be treated with medication.

How Are Zoonoses Treated?

The treatment of a zoonotic infection depends on the specific disease, but many are treatable with prescription medications, such as antibiotics.

How Are Zoonoses Prevented?

Because household pets may carry zoonotic organisms, it is important to keep pets healthy and vaccinated to avoid infection. Some other ways people can protect against zoonoses include:

  • having pets regularly examined by a veterinarian
  • avoiding contact with stray, unfamiliar, or wild animals
  • cleaning litter boxes daily and animal cages frequently to prevent the growth of bacteria and parasites
  • having someone who does not have a weakened immune system and is not pregnant empty pet litter boxes, bathe pets, clean pet cages, and pick up pet feces
  • cooking meat until it is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear
  • washing hands with soap and warm water after handling animals and before eating
  • clearing brush and other areas around the house where rodents might live
  • not storing food or trash in an area where it could attract animals
  • wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoors, especially in wooded areas, to discourage tick and mosquito bites
  • using insect and mosquito repellent
  • examining the body and pets for ticks after spending time outside in areas where ticks are found

See also

Cat Scratch Disease

Chlamydial Infections

Lyme Disease

Plague

Rabies

Toxoplasmosis

Trichinosis

Resources

Organization

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333. The CDC tracks various zoonoses, the areas where they occur, and how many people are infected at any given time. It offers information on specific zoonoses at its website.

Telephone 800-311-3435 http://www.cdc.gov

Website

KidsHealth.org. KidsHealth is a website created by the medical experts of the Nemours Foundation and is devoted to issues of childrens health. It contains articles on a variety of health topics, including cat scratch disease, Lyme disease, psittacosis, rabies, and other zoonoses.

http://www.KidsHealth.org

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