Public Health and Safety Issues

Zoonoses: Diseases of Animals and Humans

Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted between humans and animals, both wild and domestic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 75 percent of recently emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are diseases of animal origin, and approximately 60 percent of all human pathogens are zoonotic. Contact between humans, livestock, domestic pets, and wildlife are bound to occur, which increases the likelihood of disease transmission. However, it is often hard to determine patterns of human-animal interactions, which makes tracking the spread of disease difficult. Having access to science-based information about zoonoses can help people better assess their potential risk and take necessary precautions. Keep in mind that not all wild animals are carriers of disease. It is safe to enjoy outdoor activities. However, as a safety precaution, it is important to avoid contact with wildlife. Untrained people should not handle or feed wildlife.

Avoiding Zoonotic Diseases

There are several simple steps you can take to avoid becoming infected with a zoonotic disease.

Zoonotic Diseases

This section provides basic information about zoonoses and how to prevent their transmission. If you are interested in learning more about zoonoses, you may find these resources useful.