Some of the most dangerous Zoonotic Diseases which you must be concerned about

A dog with rabies. Image from Public domain

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Subhra Adhikari, Neucrad Health India June 27, 2019

How many of you have heard the term ‘zoonotic diseases’? Well, they comprise of a group of diseases which transfer from animals to human beings. They are caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. Some of them even remain asymptomatic in animals but causes grave discomfort to humans. The zoonotic diseases are also known as zoonosis. They can either be a short-term infection or can even be life-threatening conditions. At the beginning of May 2019, the Centre’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a list of eight zoonotic diseases against which humans should exercise precaution. CDC is also closely working with other health agencies in America including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) raising awareness among the general public and bringing all health workers like laboratorians, physicians, and veterinarians under a single umbrella for the prevention of zoonosis. CDC outlined eight most crucial zoonotic diseases described below.

Zoonotic influenza

Zoonotic influenza has caused pandemic treats to many countries previously. Among the various groups of influenza virus, Influenza A is deadly to animals like ducks, chicken, pigs, horses, and cats. Cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, and respiratory distress are common symptoms of this infection. Whenever there is an outbreak of zoonotic influenza, avoid direct contact with animals. If you need to handle animal carcasses, wear gloves and wash your hands with a suitable disinfectant.


Salmonellosis is another common infection which can transmit to humans by consuming improperly cooked food items like tuna, turkey and melons. According to the CDC, every year, this infection causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses, out of which 23000 patients end up with hospitalisations. Diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps are the most common symptoms, and it can take four to seven days to recover from this disease completely.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus (WNV) causes serious mosquito-borne disease in America. It gets transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. This infection usually starts during summer and continues until the end of the fall in the United States. Though there are no vaccines for this disease, in most of the cases, it is not life-threatening. Fever is the most common symptom; using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved dresses help you to prevent this disease.


Plague gets transmitted primarily by fleas, and Yersinia pestis living on small rodents is the causal organism of this disease. It is common in the villages and semirural locations of Africa, Asia and the United States. Scientists have detected three types of plague- bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. Common symptoms include fever, enlargement of lymph node, cough with bloody mucus, and extreme weakness. Making your house rodent-proof and keeping your pets free of flees can prevent this disease.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a highly infectious fatal disease which got first diagnosed in China in November 2002. A strain of coronavirus, the group which also cause common cold is the pathogen of this disease. Being a respiratory illness, it spreads through droplets while sneezing or coughing. High fever, dry cough, and respiratory distress are common symptoms.


Rabies is a fatal disease caused by the bite or through blood contact of the saliva of rabid animals, including stray dogs, bats, foxes, and raccoons. Common symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, excessive salivation, difficulty in swallowing, confusion, hyperactivity, hallucinations, and partial paralysis. The disease can be prevented by vaccination of pets and getting the vaccines in case of bites by unknown animals.


Brucellosis is a common bacterial disease transmitted from animals to human beings by the consumption of contaminated milk, and other dairy products. Farmers and dairy workers having cuts or wounds in their body can also come in direct contact with Brucella bacteria through infected animals’  blood, semen or placenta. Common symptoms of brucellosis are fever, chills, weakness, and loss of appetite. Drinking pasteurised milk and cooking meat thoroughly can prevent this disease. Dairy and slaughterhouse workers should also wear gloves while dealing with animals.

Lyme Disease

Human beings can get Lyme disease by the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Four groups of bacteria cause this infection- Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii in America and Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii in Asia and Europe. Rashes, along with fever, chills, and body are the common symptoms. Using insect repellents and covering up the body can prevent this infection.