ZOONOTIC DISEASES: Spread between Humans and Animals

People benefit greatly from animals. Many people have daily interactions with animals, both at home and away from home. Animals provide people all over the world with food, fiber, livelihoods, travel, sport, companionship, and education. Millions of households have one or more pets. We may come into contact with animals in urban or rural settings, while traveling, visiting animal exhibits, or participating in outdoor activities.

Animals, on the other hand, can carry harmful germs that can spread to humans and cause illness; these are known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. Zoonotic diseases are caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. These germs can cause a wide range of illnesses in humans and animals, from mild to severe illness and even death. Depending on the zoonotic disease, animals may appear healthy even if they are carrying germs that can make people sick.

Because of the close relationship between humans and animals, it is critical to be aware of the common ways in which people can become infected with germs that cause zoonotic diseases.

These are some examples:

  1. Coming into direct contact with an infected animal’s saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids. Petting or touching animals, as well as bites or scratches, are examples.
  2. Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or with germ-infested objects or surfaces. Aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, barns, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes, are all examples.
  3. Being bitten by a tick or an insect such as a mosquito or a flea.
  4. Foodborne: Every year, many Africans become ill as a result of eating contaminated food. Consuming unsafe foods or beverages, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables contaminated with feces from an infected animal. People and animals, including pets, can become ill from contaminated food.
  5. Waterborne: Consuming or coming into contact with water contaminated with the feces of an infected animal.

People can come into contact with animals in a variety of settings. This includes both at home and in public places such as petting zoos, fairs, schools, stores, and parks. Insects such as mosquitoes and fleas, as well as ticks, bite people and animals at all hours of the day and night. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and your family from zoonotic diseases.

  1. Maintain clean hands. Washing your hands after being around animals, even if you did not touch any of them, is one of the most important precautions you can take to avoid becoming ill and spreading germs to others.
  2. Understand the simple precautions you can take to keep your pets safe.
  3. Prevent mosquito, tick, and flea bites.
  4. Learn more about safe food handling, whether for yourself, your family, your pet, or other animals. Do not eat livestock that is not traceable, wholesome, or fit for slaughter.
  5. Be aware of zoonotic diseases at home, away from home (such as petting zoos or other animal exhibits), in childcare or school settings, and when traveling.