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What is Zoonotic Disease?

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A zoonotic disease is a contagious disease incited by a range of disease pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that can be passed from animal or insect to a human. Some of this disease will not affect the animal but will sicken a human.

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Zoonosis is another name given to the zoonotic disease, and it varies from a minor short-term illness to significant life-altering illness.

Many recent diseases, even epidemic diseases, started as zoonotic diseases. It is challenging to specify which diseases can easily be transmitted from other animals to humans.

Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence from DNA and RNA sequencing, that measles, smallpox, influenza, HIV, and diphtheria came to humans this way.

HIV was recorded as a zoonotic disease transmitted to humans in the early part of the 20th century, though it has now evolved into a separate human-only disease. Nearly all strains of influenza that infect humans are human diseases.

Nevertheless, many strains of bird flu and swine flu are zoonoses. These viruses sometimes reconnect with human strains of the flu and can lead to pandemics such as the Spanish flu in 1918 or the swine flu in 2009.

Taenia solium infection is one of the underestimated tropical diseases with public health and veterinary concern in endemic regions.

Zoonoses have several modes of transmission, which includes the following:

Direct contact

In direct zoonotic transmission, the disease is directly transmitted by coming in contact with bodily fluids of an affected animal such as urine, saliva, blood, or feces.

This can happen through media such as air (influenza) or being bitten or scratched by one.

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Water Resources that are contaminated can also contain a great variety of zoonotic bacteria and thus increases the risk of that bacteria transferring to humans.

Indirect contact

Zoonosis can also be transmitted indirectly when coming in contact with an area where infected animals roam or live, or by touching an object that has been contaminated by an infected animal.

Common areas where this occurs include:

  • Aquarium tanks
  • Chicken coops
  • Cages or kennels
  • Soil and plant where infected animals have been

Farmers, Zoo, or pet shop workers or people who come in contact with animals daily have an increased risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases.

They can also become carriers and transmit those diseases to other people.

Vector-borne

Zoonosis can be transmitted via a living organism from an animal to a human or another animal, and they are usually arthropods.

Common vectors include:

  • Ticks
  • Mosquitoes
  • Lice
  • Fleas

Food-borne

The zoonotic disease can come from animal food products that are contaminated or poor cooking of food.

Common causes of zoonosis via food-borne include:

  • Unprocessed milk
  • Underdone meat or eggs
  • Raw fruit and vegetables contaminated with feces of an infected animal

Other causes of zoonosis include global climatic shift, the abuse of antimicrobials in medicine, and more aggressive farm settings are also thought to influence the rapid increase in zoonosis.

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People with a weakened immune system are at higher risk of getting infected. These individuals may also have more severe reactions and symptoms.

High-risk individuals include;

  • Pregnant women
  • Infants
  • Those undergoing cancer treatment
  • Those with infectious diseases as Aids
  • Diabetic patients

Some examples of zoonotic diseases include:

Zoonotic Disease

  • Animal flu
  • Anthrax
  • Bird flu
  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Brucellosis
  • Campylobacter infection
  • Cat scratch fever
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Cysticercosis
  • Dengue fever
  • Ebola
  • Encephalitis from ticks
  • Enzootic abortion
  • Erysipeloid
  • Fish tank granuloma
  • Giardiasis
  • Glanders
  • Hemorrhagic colitis
  • Malaria
  • Orf infection
  • Parrot fever
  • Pasteurellosis
  • Plague

Preventive measures

Zoonoses are common all around the world. Nonetheless, there are specific ways to reduce the number of illnesses caused by the infected animal. These include the following:

  • Wash your hands diligently
  • Use insect repellent to keep mosquitos, fleas, and ticks away
  • Exercise safe food handling by washing off all product before eating them
  • Avoid being scratched or bitten by an animal
  • Use protective gloves if you need to handle an animal that is or seems to be sick
  • Maintain a clean environment where animals are kept
  • Don’t approach any animal in the wild that appears sick
  • Be sure to contact animal control to have the sick animal removed.

The severity of zoonotic diseases depends on the type of disease you have. Nearly all are treatable, while others can cause severe long-term and fatal conditions.

So it’s crucial that you check with the medical professional or your doctor as soon as you think you might be infected by a zoonotic disease. It’s also an essential reason to practice prevention around any animals, either domestic or wild.

Are there more information about Zoonotic diseases you’d like to share with us? If yes, kindly leave your input in the comment section below.

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