What are Zoonotic Diseases?

What are Zoonotic Diseases?

A zoonotic disease is a type of diseases caused by germs, bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other disease-causing organisms that spread between animals and human beings. The main thing to note here is that the zoonotic (zoonoses) are caused by germs and spread from animals to humans.


Animals are a great asset and benefit to people. Be it a pet, cow, donkey, dog, chicken, name them, they all offer products or services which we depend on. For example, the sheep give us wool, goats and cows give milk and pets give to keep us company at home. However, these animals sometimes carry harmful germs that can pass to humans causing diseases termed as zoonotic diseases.

N/B. Animals can appear healthy yet they carry these germs causing zoonotic diseases. Care should be taken on how you interact with animals. 


How do these germs causing zoonotic diseases spread from animals to humans? 

These germs causing zoonotic diseases spread from animals to humans in various ways

  • Direct contact with animals--involves coming into contact with body fluids such as saliva, faces, the sweat of infected animals. 
  • Indirect contact with animals-coming into contact with the surfaces or objects where the infected animal had touched. Such as chicken coops, aquarium water tanks, soil, etc
  • Eating contaminated food (Foodborne)-involves getting a zoonotic disease by eating contaminated food such as unpasteurized milk.
  • Waterborne-involves drinking or coming into contact with water that has been contaminated with the feces from the infected animal.
  • Vectorborne- getting a bite from insects or mosquitos.


 Examples of zoonotic diseases


People who are at risk of zoonotic diseases

The following groups of people are at risk of zoonotic diseases

  • Eldery people ranging from 65 years and above
  • People with weak immune system or immunocompromised bodies
  • Children under the age of 5 years
  • Expectant mothers

What are precautionary measures to prevent spread and contracting zoonotic diseases

  1. Keeping the hands clean always.
  2. Avoid insect bites such as ticks and mosquitos
  3. Avoid animals bites or scratches on the skin
  4. Handle food safely such as boiling milk or pasteurizing milk to avoid food contamination. 
  5. Be aware on of the zoonotic diseases while at home or at the zoo
  6. Keep the animals and Huan surrounding clean

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Date published: 22/09/2017
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