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Acinetobacter is a genus of opportunistic pathogens in the proteobacteria group, ubiquitous in nature and have been found on or in soil, water, animals and humans. They are a menace because of their: ability to rapidly acquire and transfer multiple antimicrobial drug resistance genes; prolonged survival on inanimate surfaces and the environment; colonization potential; and contact transmission. Careful attention to infection control procedures, such as hand hygiene and environmental cleaning, can reduce the risk of transmission. http://www.wpro.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs_20101102/en/

Anisakiasis is an infection with the marine fish Anisakis roundworm (Anisakis simplex). People can get infected when they ingest the immature stages of the worm (larvae) in raw or undercooked infected fish in dishes such as sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and pickled herring. The larvae can be killed by cooking fish to 140ºF (60ºC) for 10 minutes, freezing fish at -4ºF (-20ºC) for at least 7 days, or blast freezing fish to -31ºF (-35ºC) for 15 hours. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/anisakiasis/

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. It can be found naturally in soil and primarily affects herbivorous domestic and wild mammals around the world, although some birds have been known to contract it. Humans generally acquire the disease from infected animals or as a result of occupational exposure to contaminated animal products. http://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/basics/index.html

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing global threat requiring accelerated action. Resistance is a natural biological phenomenon but is increased and accelerated by various factors such as misuse of medicines, poor infection control practices and global trade and travel. Antimicrobial use in animals can contribute to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria that may be transferred to humans, thereby reducing the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs for treating human disease. Some antimicrobial resistance: MDR-TB, XDR-TB, ACTs, MRSA.  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/


Aspergillosis is an infection caused by Aspergillus, a common mold (a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors. Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus.

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Aquarium granuloma

Aquarium granuloma is a long-term (chronic) skin infection that occurs when water containing Mycobacterium marinum bacteria enters a break in the skin. The main symptom is a reddish bump (papule) that slowly grows into a purplish and painful nodule. Antibiotics are used to treat this infection. They are chosen based on the results of the culture and skin biopsy. Prevention: Wash hands and arms thoroughly after cleaning aquariums or, wear rubber gloves when cleaning.

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Cat Scratch Disease is a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae. Young cats and kittens are most likely to be the source of human infection and about 40% of cats carry these bacteria at some point in their lives. The infection, which rarely causes disease in cats, is transmitted between cats by fleas. Infected flea droppings on the cat’s fur or claws are the source of human infections, which are spread from the cat to a person by a cat bite, scratch or lick. Cat scratch fever can be prevented by practicing effective flea control and by avoiding cat bites or scratches. http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html.

Borrelia mayonii

A new pathogenic genospecies Borrelia mayonii has been described in the upper midwestern USA, which causes Lyme borreliosis with unusually high spirochaetaemia. Clinicians have been advised to be aware of this new genospecies, its distinct clinical features, and the usefulness of oppA1 PCR for diagnosis.

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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also called BSE or “mad cow disease,” is a disease that affects the brain of cattle and humans. Most scientists believe that it is caused by an abnormal protein in brain tissue, called a prion, that can cause fatal disease when eaten. The disease was first diagnosed in the United Kingdom in 1986. Since then the disease has occurred in many European countries as well as Japan, Canada and the United States. Most of the reported cases of BSE (95%) have occurred in the United Kingdom. Humans who eat BSE contaminated beef products can develop a disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob

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Brucellosis is a bacterial disease caused by various Brucella species, which mainly infect cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs. Humans generally acquire the disease through direct contact with infected animals, by eating or drinking contaminated animal products, or by inhaling airborne agents. http://www.who.int/zoonoses/diseases/brucellosis/en/

Campylobacter is a bacterium that causes intestinal infections that are generally mild, but can be fatal among very young children, elderly and immunosuppressed individuals. The bacteria normally inhabit the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals such as poultry and cattle, and are frequently detected in foods derived from these animals. To prevent Campylobacter infections, make sure to follow basic food hygiene practices when preparing food. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs255/en/

Chagas disease

Chagas disease is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It is found mainly in endemic areas of Latin American, where it is mostly vector-borne transmitted to humans by contact with faeces of triatomine bugs. Vector control is the most effective method of prevention.  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs340/en/

Chikungunya virus

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) was first isolated from a febrile patient in Tanzania in 1952. To a large degree, CHIKV infections have been limited to endemic areas of Africa and South-East Asia and to travellers returning to Europe, Australia and the USA from these areas. With the increasing impact of climate change on mosquito distribution and evolution, CHIKV will remain an important zoonotic virus to be monitored by the international community for further spread and future outbreaks. Prevention and control relies heavily on reducing the number of natural and artificial water-filled container habitats that support breeding of the mosquitoes.

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Chilomastix mesnili
Chilomastix mesnili is a pear-shaped, non-pathogenic flagellate, in which animals may serve as reservoirs. It is commonly associated with other parasites and can create false positive results which would result in unnecessary treatment or a false negative which would withhold necessary treatment. http://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/chilomastix/
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a zoonotic viral disease that is asymptomatic in infected animals but a serious threat to humans. The main natural hosts are hares, hedgehogs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses and swine. The human disease occurs as isolated cases and in limited outbreaks in rural areas of Africa, Asia and Europe. Humans acquire the infection from the bite of an infected tick and exposure to infected materials. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs208/en/

Cryptococcosis is an illness that affects a wide variety of mammals, including humans, with occasional cases also reported in birds, reptiles and amphibians. Two species, neoformans and C. gattii, are responsible for most clinical cases. C. neoformans is an opportunistic human pathogen that lives in the environment throughout the world. It is typically found in soil, on decaying wood, in tree hollows, or in bird droppings and primarily affects people who are immunosuppressed but extremely rare in people who are otherwise healthy. http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factsheets/pdfs/cryptococcosis.pdf

Zoonotic cryptosporidiosis caused by Cryptosporidium parvum is an extremely important emerging pathogen in humans. While it induces only a self-limiting, acute diarrheal disease in immunocompetent individuals, it is a leading cause of life-threatening, chronic diarrheal disease in immunocompromised patients.Infection occurs after exposure to infected animals (calves, lambs) and prevention is through proper hygiene and avoiding contaminated water. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/gdwqrevision/cryptodraft2.pdf

Diphtheria (zoonotic)

Zoonotic diphtheria is caused by Corynebacterium ulcerans which is a relatively rare species, and more frequently causes cutaneous diphtheria; however, this species may rarely cause respiratory symptoms. Severity of disease is dependent on exotoxin production. C ulcerans has also been linked to zoonotic transmission to humans and has been most frequently seen in agricultural communities associated with livestock.

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Diphyllobothriosis is a human disease caused by tapeworms of the genus Diphyllobothrium. It is the largest human tapeworm and the most important fish-borne zoonosis caused by a cestode parasite. Up to 20 million humans are estimated to be infected worldwide. The zoonosis occurs most commonly in countries where the consumption of raw or marinated fish is a frequent practice. Prevention is by cooking/freezing fish adequately. Learn more

Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola Virus Disease is a severe, often fatal illness in humans with an average case fatality rate of around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/


Human echinococcosis is a parasitic disease caused by tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus Humans are infected through ingestion of parasite eggs in contaminated food, water or soil, or through direct contact with animal hosts. More than 1 million people are affected with echinococcosis at any one time. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs377/en/

Elizabethkingia anophelis

Elizabethkingia anophelis is a recently discovered bacterium isolated from the midgut of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito in 2011. The genus Elizabethkingia also includes E. meningoseptica and E. miricola. E. meningoseptica causes neonatal sepsis and infections in immunocompromised persons. E. anophelis has also recently been reported to cause neonatal meningitis in the Central African Republic, and a nosocomial outbreak was reported in an intensive care unit in Singapore. Currently, Elizabethkingia is responsible for  an ongoing outbreak in Wiscousin. It is important to note that as of today the bacterium is non-contagious, with a wide antibiotic resistance and with no known definitive source.

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Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae

Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is a bacterium which causes swine erysipelas. It also causes infection in several species of mammals and other animals. Humans become infected through exposure to infected or contaminated animals or animal products. By far the most common type of human infection is a localized, self-limited cutaneous lesion, erysipeloid. Diffuse cutaneous and systemic infections occur rarely.

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Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Escherichia coli (E. coli) comprise a large group of bacteria that live in the guts of animals and people. Most are harmless but some can cause disease. One particular strain called E. coli O157:H7 can cause serious disease in people. The E. coli O157:H7 bacteria are shed in the stool of infected animals and people. People can get infected when they eat food or drink water or milk contaminated by the bacteria. Infection with E. coli O157:H7 can cause diarrhea and in some cases a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which damages the kidneys and blood vessels and is more common in young children and the elderly. http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
Man’s susceptibility to the virus of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD’) was debated for many years. Today the virus has been isolated and typed (type 0, followed by type C and rarely A) in more than 40 human cases. So no doubt remains that FMD is a zoonosis. Learn more

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal illness known as giardiasis. Giardia (also known as Giardia intestinalis, Giardia lamblia, or Giardia duodenalis) is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease from rodents. Humans can contract the disease when they come into contact with infected rodents or their urine and droppings. Although rare, HPS is potentially deadly with a mortality rate of 5% – one third in the shock phase and two thirds in the renal phase of the disease. Learn more
Influenza viruses
Influenza viruses circulating in animals pose threats to human health. Humans can become ill when infected with viruses from animal sources, such as avian influenza virus subtypes H5N1 and H9N2 and swine influenza virus subtypes H1N1 and H3N2. The primary risk factor for human infection appears to be direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead animals or contaminated environments. Click to read recent outbreak in China-H5N6 (11/01/2016) Learn more
Lassa fever

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus. It is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa (current outbreak in Nigeria). Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in the hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures. Diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential. Learn more


Zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL) is transmitted from animal to vector (phlebotomine sand fly) to human. Humans are occasional/accidental hosts and animals, mainly dogs, are the reservoir of the parasite. ZVL is found in areas of Leishamania infantum Control strategies rely on reservoir and vector control. http://www.who.int/leishmaniasis/resources/documents/VL_NMR_1107_ok.pdf


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. Humans become infected through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment.  The bacteria enter the body through cuts or abrasions on the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. Person-to-person transmission is rare. Rodents are implicated most often in human cases. http://www.who.int/zoonoses/diseases/leptospirosis/en/


Listeriosis is a rare but serious disease of humans caused by Listeria monocytogenes; Unpasteurized milk products and cold cuts are some of the most common sources of listeriosis. Infected cattle and goats can also spread the infection to humans when the infection causes them to abort and the placental remains are heavily contaminated. Listeria is especially hazardous to pregnant women and can result in miscarriage, stillbirth or illness or death in newborn infants. http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is a pathogen, normally carried in rodents, which can cause aseptic meningitis and other conditions in humans. Most people experience a relatively mild illness and fatal infections are rare; however, pregnant women may give birth to congenitally infected infants with severe defects of the brain and eye. In a few instances, this virus has been transmitted in transplanted organs, usually resulting in fatal disease. LCMV infections in rodents are often subclinical, although acute clinical signs or chronic effects may be seen in some animals. Some strains of this virus can cause life-threatening illness in New World monkeys. LCMV is also a potential bioterrorist weapon

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Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF)

Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates. Marburg HF is caused by Marburg virus, a genetically unique zoonotic (or, animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family. The five species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family. The reservoir host of Marburg virus is the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus. Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not to show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including humans) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality. No specific treatment or vaccine is yet available for MHF but refer to control &prevention options and past outbreaks on the WHO website.

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Melioidosis (also referred to as Whitmore’s disease) is a zoonotic disease, caused by a  bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei.  It is a tropical and sub-tropical disease, endemic in areas lying between latitudes 20° north and south. Sporadic cases are seen outside these areas, usually among immigrants and travellers. Both humans and susceptible animals can be infected. The bacteria of melioidosis are environmental organisms, found in water, soil, or plants. They may also be transmitted from infected animals. Spread is via direct contact with a contaminated source, especially during the rainy season. Ingestion of contaminated material or dust/aerosol inhalation may also occur. Transmission between humans is rare but has been documented.

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Meningonema peruzzii
Meningonema peruzzii is a zoonotic filaria that affects the central nervous system of a number of African monkeys and the microfilariae have been recovered from the cerebrospinal fluid in zoonotic human infections. Learn more
Middle East respiratory syndrome
Middle East respiratory syndrome(MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV). Most people infected with MERS-CoV developed severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The route of transmission from animals to humans is not fully understood, but camels are likely to be a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of infection in humans. No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available. Treatment is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/mers-cov/en/

Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus found in monkeys and other animals such as rats, mice and rabbits. People get monkeypox from an animal with the virus if they are bitten or if they touch the animal’s body fluid or blood. The disease can also spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced from sneezing or coughing. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox but there is a vaccine available that lowers the risk of getting the disease. http://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/

Orf virus

Orf virus is a member of the parapoxvirus genus in the Poxvirus family. The virus primarily causes an infection in sheep and goats, although it can be transmitted to people. Humans that are infected typically develop ulcerative lesions or nodules on their hands. Infection with orf virus occurs throughout the world, wherever small ruminants exist.

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Plague is a disease that affects humans and other mammals. It is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Humans usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague. Fifteen people have been infected with bubonic plague so far this year in the United States. Learn more
Plesiomonas shigelloides
Plesiomonas shigelloides is a Gram-negative rod that causes progressive ulcerative stomatitis in snakes (“mouth-rot disease”). It may cause gastroenteritis in humans. A case of acute gastroenteritis has been reported from a zoo animal keeper infected after handling a sick boa constrictor. These organisms can also be found in fish tanks. Diagnosis is made by stool culture. In humans treatment is available. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001460.htm

Psittacosis is an infection of birds caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila (formerly called Chlamydia) psittaci. Infections in birds are important as they represent a biological hazard to human health, as well as economic loss to the poultry industry and the pet bird retail trade. Birds can carry the organism without any signs of disease, or they can become mildly to severely ill. Birds can transmit C. psittaci to humans; the resulting infection is also known as psittacosis or ornithosis. Learn more

Q fever

Q fever is a disease caused by a type of bacterium named Coxiella burnetii. It is primarily a disease of cattle, sheep, and goats although other livestock and pets can also get Q Fever. The disease in people ranges from asymptomatic to severe. Most animals have no symptoms but infection may cause abortion in sheep and goats. Infection in people occurs by inhaling dust contaminated with dried placental material, birth fluids, as well as urine and feces from infected animals. The risk of infection is greatest close to the source of bacteria, but there have been cases of infection even several miles away. Accidentally inhaling contaminated milk is a less common way of getting infected. http://www.cdc.gov/qfever/

Rat bite fever

Rat bite fever is a bacterial disease caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis or Spirillum minus. The bacteria are carried by rats and are part of the normal flora of their mouth and nose. People can get infected through bites or scratches by rats. Up to 10% of rat bites may result in rat bite fever. Other animals such as mice, gerbils, squirrels, cats and dogs can also get infected and may or may not get sick with rat bite fever, and can spread it. Persons who handle rats as part of their work or children who live in rat infested areas are at higher risk of this disease. http://www.cdc.gov/rat-bite-fever/

Rift Valley Fever

Rift Valley Fever (RVF)  is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but also has the capacity to infect humans. RVF is most commonly associated with mosquito-borne epidemics during years of unusually heavy rainfall. Humans usually get RVF through bites from infected mosquitoes and possibly other biting insects that have virus-contaminated mouth parts. A person’s chances of becoming infected can be reduced by taking measures to decrease contact with mosquitoes and other bloodsucking insects through the use of mosquito repellents and bednets. Outbreaks of RVF in animals can be prevented by a sustained programme of animal vaccination. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs207/en/


Sporotrichosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Sporothrix schenckii, that can be spread to people from the skin of infected animals or by getting dirt into scratches and cuts. The bacteria causes open sores in animals that can spread the disease to people. Dogs, horses and cats can become infected, but most human infections come from contact with cats, such as being scratched by an infected cat. The infection is treatable in both humans and animals. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/sporotrichosis/


Trichinosis/trichinellosis is a disease caused by eating raw or under-cooked meat infected with cysts of Trichinella spiralis. Trichinella spiralis can be found in pork, bear, walrus, fox, rat, horse, and lion. When a person eats meat from an infected animal, Trichinella cysts break open in the intestine and grow into adult roundworms which cause symptoms. Safe and effective prescription drugs are available to treat both Trichinella infection and the symptoms that occur as a result of infection.

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Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis may cause flu-like symptoms in some people, but most people affected never develop signs and symptoms. For infants born to infected mothers and for people with weakened immune systems, toxoplasmosis can cause extremely serious complications. Cats play an important role in the spread of toxoplasmosis. They become infected by eating infected rodents, birds, or other small animals. The parasite is then passed in the cat’s feces in an oocyst form, which is microscopic. Prevention & control see CDC guidelinesLearn more
Tanapox virus


Tanapox virus is a zoonotic infection that causes mild febrile illness and one to several nodular skin lesions. The disease is endemic in parts of Africa. The disease was first seen in September 1957 at the Tana River in Kenya. The principal reservoir for the virus that causes Tanapox is unknown, but has been hypothesized to be a non-human primate. Learn more


Toxoplasmosis is the most widespread zoonosis and an important human disease, particularly in children whom it could cause visual and neurological impairment and mental retardation. Toxoplasmosis is caused by the single celled protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii that has developed several potential routes of transmission within and between different host species. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/epi.html


Zoonotic trichuriasis is an intestinal whipworm infection caused by the parasitic worms Trichuris vulpis and Trichuris suis. Infection is spread when a healthy person comes into contact with soil, food, water or objects that have been contaminated with faeces of an infected person. Control is by treatment and prevention of Trichuris infections in animals, removal of feces before the eggs can become embryonated, and proper  http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factsheets/pdfs/trichuriasis.pdf


Human African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, is caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Trypanosoma. T. b. gambiense is endemic in 24 countries of west and central Africa and causes more than 98% of reported cases of sleeping sickness. T. b. rhodesiense is endemic in 13 countries of eastern and southern Africa, representing about 3% of reported cases. http://www.who.int/gho/neglected_diseases/human_african_trypanosomiasis/en/


Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Rabbits, hares, and rodents are especially susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks. Humans can become infected through contact with infected animals, acquired by ingestion of contaminated water, or through contact with infected soil, where the organism can remain in an infectious state for up to several months.

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Waddlia chondrophila


Waddlia chondrophila is an emerging pathogen associated with abortion in cattle. In humans, a growing body of evidence supports its pathogenic role in miscarriage and in respiratory tract infection. The association between contact with animals and positive serologic results for Waddlia spp. raises the zoonotic potential of this bacterium and a Model Organism to Study the Biology of Chlamydiae. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1286457915002051

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. It was first found in Africa in 1937, but it did not appear in the U.S. until 1999. Wild birds become infected with West Nile virus and mosquitoes spread the virus to other birds and to humans. 80% of people with the virus may have no symptoms, or they may have illness ranging from mild to severe. In the severe forms, West Nile virus affects the nervous system and may result in disability, paralysis or death. Horses are also at high risk of contracting and dying from West Nile virus, a vaccine is available for horses. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs354/en/


Yersiniosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia, most human illness is caused by Y. enterocolitica. The major animal reservoir for Y. enterocolitica strains that cause human illness is pigs, but other strains are also found in many other animals including rodents, rabbits, sheep, cattle, horses, dogs and cats. Infection is most often acquired by eating contaminated food, especially raw or undercooked pork products. Drinking contaminated unpasteurized milk or untreated water can also transmit the infection. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/yersinia/

Zika virus infection

Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae family and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It is related to other pathogenic vector borne flaviviruses including dengue, West-Nile and Japanese encephalitis viruses but produces a comparatively mild disease in humans. There is no cure. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms. Prevention and control relies on reducing the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes and minimizing contact between mosquito vectors and people. Learn more

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