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Wildlife Diseases 1

Wildlife workers tend to ignore the risks associated with handling wildlife species and working in natural environments. Wildlife diseases or diseases present in their habitats can infect humans and some can cause serious illness or even death. Becoming aware of the potential diseases present and taking precautions to decrease exposure will greatly reduce the chances of becoming infected with one of these diseases. This section provides a description of the major zoonotic diseases of wildlife in the United States that can also infect humans and gives information on disease prevention.

You can prevent infection with zoonotic diseases and reduce the seriousness of an illness by observing the following recommendations:

  1. Become aware of which zoonotic diseases are present in your area and their clinical symptoms.
  2. Obtain any preexposure vaccinations that are available, particularly for rabies.
  3. Take personal precautions to reduce exposure to disease agents and vectors such as ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas.
  4. Practice good sanitation procedures when handling or processing animals or their products.
  5. If you become ill, promptly seek proper medical treatment and inform the physician about possible exposures.

Approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans are diseases of animal origin; approximately 58% of all human pathogens are zoonotic.

Human Diseases from Wildlife

By: Michael R. Conover * Rosanna M. Vail    (CRC Press)

Diseases that are caused by pathogens with the ability to infect both humans and animals are known as zoonotic diseases, which literally means “disease from animals.” We will focus on zoonotic diseases in which wild animals play an important role as a reservoir and/or a vector for the pathogen. For some of these diseases, livestock or companion animals (i.e., pets) are often involved and may serve as a bridge that allows a pathogen of wildlife to infect people. That is, livestock may become infected from a wildlife source, and humans become ill from infected livestock, etc.

Diseases can be divided into three groups: those that only infect humans and not animals, those that only infect animals and not humans, and those that infect both humans and animals. The scientific term for this last group of diseases is zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are much more common than most people realize; approximately 58% of all human diseases are zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases that occur in North America and those involving wildlife species are listed below.

Linkages Between Humans and Wildlife

There are many elements that link humans to the natural world and to wildlife species in particular. Humans and wildlife share the same basic needs and challenges: securing food and shelter, avoiding predators and rivals, seeking safety, and making sure that their children survive and prosper. Humans and wildlife share the same world, environment, and habitat. Historically, people viewed human habitat—the rural, suburban, and urban areas where humans live and work—to be separate from wildlife habitat. Wildlife habitats were those areas that humans had set aside for them. This might be as small as a patch of cover on a farm or as large as a national park or national forest. This dichotomy of the human habitat (i.e., human-dominated areas) and wildlife habitat was always an illusion because both humans and wild animals are mobile. Instead, human development is constantly expanding into many new areas, and people are hiking and camping in the most remote parts of North America. Likewise, wild animals are moving into towns and cities. Today, even our biggest cities have large and growing populations of wildlife, including Canada geese, deer, raccoons, and coyotes. The end result of this two-way movement of people and wildlife is a closer association between humans and wild animals. On balance, this close association is a positive development because humans enjoy seeing wildlife in their neighborhoods, and wild animals have more areas where they can thrive. But sometimes, this close association has negative consequences for either humans or wildlife or for both.

What are Zoonotic Diseases?

One of the most unfortunate consequences of this close association is the opportunity for humans and wildlife to share pathogens. Each year, zoonotic diseases sicken hundreds of millions of people across the world and tens of thousands in the United States and Canada. Too often, these diseases prove deadly. Zoonotic diseases also are a major impediment to the lofty goal of ending world hunger. Millions of poultry and livestock are killed annually by zoonotic diseases. These losses are felt most by the poor who are forced to forego animal protein in their diets.

Most (72%) zoonotic diseases are caused by pathogens of wildlife origins. These diseases are a great concern because it typically is not possible to eradicate a disease if a wildlife species serves as a reservoir host. For example, two of mankind’s deadliest pestilence—plague, which was called the Black Death during the Middle Ages, and typhoid, which killed millions during World Wars I and II— have been eliminated in most parts of the world due to the advances of modern medicine. Today, they are limited to the most impoverished places, such as war-torn areas or refugee camps. There is, unfortunately, one exception to this pattern—they also occur in the United States. They occur in the United States not due to shortcomings in the country’s public health agencies but rather because these diseases have spread to North American wildlife (i.e. typhus circulates in flying squirrels and plague in rodents and other wild mammalian species).

Will the Next Pandemic Be Caused by a Zoonotic Disease?

There was great confidence during the second half of the twentieth century that the widespread use of antibiotics and vaccinations would allow humans to eradicate infectious diseases. That confidence, unfortunately, was misplaced. Rather than decreasing, there has been a resurgence of infectious diseases since 1950. This increase can be attributed to (1) a lapse of funding for public health programs, (2) constant genetic changes in pathogens that allow them to become immune to antibodies and more infective, and (3) spread of HIV virus that impairs immune systems, making its victims susceptible to other diseases, such as cryptococcosis.

Since 1950, there have been hundreds of events involving emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) that threaten human health on a global scale. These EID events include newly evolved strains of pathogens, such as drug-resistant strains, pathogens that recently developed the ability to infect humans and cause disease, and historical pathogens of humans that recently became more infective, prevalent, or deadly. Most of the EID events involved zoonotic pathogens. Surprisingly, these EID events were not concentrated in the tropics or in developing countries. Instead, they were concentrated in temperate regions and developed countries. The EID hot spots were the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and south-eastern Australia. The apparent reason for this global pattern is that the frequency of zoonotic EID events increases in areas with high human and wildlife densities. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network to monitor disease outbreaks of international importance. During 2012 and 2013, the network reported outbreaks of Lassa fever, Marburg hemorrhagic fever, Rift Valley fever, dengue fever, ebola, cholera, polio,  yellow fever (YF), influenza A (H7N9), avian influenza, and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

In the past, mankind has been plagued by deadly pandemics, which killed a substantial proportion of the human population. One of the most severe was the Spanish influenza a century ago that killed between 50 and 100 million people across the world. Public health agencies and epidemiologists have warned that the question of a deadly pandemic occurring is not if but when such a pandemic will begin. Pandemics are more likely to occur when either of the two events happens: (1) a benign pathogen that infects people today without causing illness mutates into a deadly pathogen and (2) a pathogen that infects another species of animal mutates so that it can infect humans. Many epidemiologists believe the second event is more likely to occur and to be more deadly because humans will not have developed any immunity against a pathogen that had not caused a human disease previously. This type of event started the Spanish influenza pandemic—its causative agent was an avian influenza virus that developed the ability to infect humans.

Will the Next Animal Extinction Be Caused By A Zoonotic Disease?

Humans are not the only species that are threatened by zoonotic diseases—wild animals are also victims. Zoonotic diseases are a major source of mortality in many avian and mammalian species. Sometimes, these diseases attract popular attention when they result in massive die-offs, killing thousands of animals at one time; more insidious is the daily mortality of animals, which fails to attract public attention. Too often, humans only realize the loss when enough animals have died that the species is threatened with extinction. For instance, the black-footed ferret in North America was almost driven to extinction, in part, due to plague killing ferrets directly and eliminating their food (prairie dogs). The eradication of the Allegheny woodrat from some parts of North America, owing to raccoon roundworms, offers yet another example.

A disease is more likely to eradicate a wildlife population or drive a species to extinction when one or more of the following conditions exist:

  1. The animal population is already vulnerable due to its small size or a limited range. This is the biological equivalent of having all of one’s eggs in one basket. If animal numbers are initially low or if all of the animals are concentrated into a single area, a localized outbreak of a disease can cause extinction. In contrast, large populations that are scattered over an entire continent are robust enough to absorb the additional mortalities caused by a disease outbreak without threatening the survival of the entire species.
  2. The animal population is already suffering from mortality rates higher than normal due to habitat degradation or to the arrival of exotic species that prey upon it or compete with it for food or shelter.
  3. The animal population has the misfortune of occupying habitat that is coveted by humans, who want to alter its habitat to meet human needs.

“One Health” Approach to Controlling Zoonotic Diseases

The pathogens responsible for zoonotic diseases infect wild animals, domestic animals, and humans. Because of this, a multitude of scientific disciplines is germane to the topic of zoonotic diseases. To name a few, medical science is the study of human disease, veterinary science is the examination of animal diseases, bacteriology and virology are the studies of pathogens, epidemiology is the scrutinization of disease patterns, entomology is the study of insect vectors, biology is the study of host populations, psychology is the examination of human behavior, and sociology is a study that focuses on human society. This diversity of disciplines can hinder the ability to develop a coordinated response to the threat posed by a zoonotic disease. The “One Health” approach was developed to address this issue. It recognizes that improving the health of wildlife, livestock, and companion animals will enhance human health by reducing human exposure to pathogens. There are numerous examples of how the risk of humans becoming ill can only be reduced by eliminating or controlling the pathogen in the wildlife population. Some of the more common wildlife diseases in North America include:

Directly Transmitted Wildlife Diseases

Rabies
Description

  • Rhabdovirus that is carried by certain carnivorous mammals and bats

Location

  • Worldwide, except Australia and Antarctica

Cause

  • Acute disease from a bite by an infected animal
  • Rabies is considered a fatal wildlife disease

Symptoms

  • Brain infection

Treatment

  • Immediately scrub the bite wound with soap and water
  • Apply a strong first aid solution (such as iodine) or cream
  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Get vaccinated before possible contact with infected animals
  • Avoid contact with possible infected animals

Handling Animals

  • Wild animals may behave unusually
  • Dumb rabies: Causes tremors and convulsions
  • Furious rabies: Causes aggressive behavior before convulsions and paralysis set in
  • Behavioral changes: friendliness, loss of fear, appearance in the daytime (for nocturnal animals), unprovoked attacks, bewilderment aimless wandering, unusual barking, crying and frothing at the mouth

Other Facts

  • Can infect all warm-blooded animals
  • Most cases are from dogs and cats
  • Once infected, the virus spreads to the brain and then to other organs
Trichinosis
Description

  • Illness from eating meat that is infected with the worm

Cause

  • Trichinella worm in raw or undercooked meat

Symptoms

  • Diarrhea, sudden edema of the upper eyelids, photophobia, muscle soreness and pain, skin lesions, thirst, sweating chills, weakness

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid eating raw and poorly cooked meat
  • Bury dead carcasses
  • Keep animals from eating carcasses that could be contaminated
Hantavirus

Description

  • Deadly disease from rodent bites or ingesting their excrement

Cause

  • Rodent excrement and contaminated food

Symptoms

  • Febrile illnesses (fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, lower back pain) with kidney, blood or respiratory ailments, sometimes fatal

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Wear surgical gloves and masks when handling rodents
  • Campsites and cabins should properly dispose of mice and rodents before they are occupied
  • Spray premises with detergents or diluted bleach before thorough cleaning
  • Avoid dry sweeping and vacuuming the infected area as airborne particles could be produced

Handling Animals

  • Infected animals shed virus in their urine, feces, and saliva and can be chronically infected

Other Facts

  • A possible new hantavirus was discovered in 1983 with the first cases reported in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. A deer mouse may have infected the people
Mosquito-borne Encephalitis
Description

  • Virus transmitted between animals by mosquitoes

Location

  • Throughout the United States

Cause

  • The disease that affects the central nervous system

Symptoms

  • Unapparent: fever, headache, musculoskeletal pain, malaise
  • Mild: severe illness in the central nervous system

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid exposure to mosquitoes during the early evening
  • Use mosquito repellants

Other Facts

  • No vaccines are available for humans
Brucellosis
Description

  • An infectious disease caused by bacteria obtained through contact with an infected animal or contaminated objects. Brucellosis is very common in domestic animals such as camels, buffalo, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs.

Location

  • Brucellosis is worldwide but is more commonly found in areas with poor health regulations and programs. These include Portugal, Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, The Caribbean, The Middle East, and South and Central America.

Cause

  • Infection can occur through the consumption of undercooked meats and/or raw dairy (unpasteurized) from animals that were infected as well as bacteria entering the body through open wounds and inhalation.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms can vary and initial signs can include fever, headache, sweats, malaise, anorexia, fatigue, and pain in your muscles and joints. Some of these can persist and/or get worse with time.

Treatment

  • Diagnosis of Brucellosis is done by performing tests through samples of blood, tissue, and other body fluids that test for the bacteria. Once the proper diagnosis is made, antibiotics can be prescribed. Recovery can vary from a few weeks to a few months and death from Brucellosis is rare.

Prevention

  • Do not consume undercooked meat or unpasteurized dairy products. Avoid contact with animals that could be infected. Animal handlers like farmers, hunters, meatpacking workers, veterinarians, etc. should always wear proper safety equipment including gloves, eye protection, and gowns/aprons.

Handling Animals

  • There is no cure for the Brucella bacteria in animals. However, in the United States, Brucellosis is very rare. Receiving Brucellosis from an animal such as your dog is most common through contact with the blood or other body fluids from the animal. Most dogs infected with Brucella bacteria do not spread it to their owners or other humans.

Other Facts

  • In the United States, less than 200 people are infected each year. Infection is more common in spring and summer. Brucellosis is a very serious disease in other parts of the world that lack effective animal disease control programs.
Tuberculosis
Description

  • A contagious disease found in both humans and animals and caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. The disease attacks the lungs but can be found throughout the body in organs like the kidney and brain.

Location

  • TB is found worldwide and can be transmitted between animals and humans. Africa and Asia have the highest number of infected individuals.

Cause

  • TB is caused by the spread of bacteria in the air from coughing, sneezing, speaking, spitting, laughing, etc. Humans can contract TB by consuming the bacteria found in unpasteurized milk and other dairy products from an infected animal. TB found in cattle can spread easily to other animals that come in contact, including household pets.

Symptoms

  • Pulmonary TB (in the lungs) is the most common form of TB. Those symptoms include a continuing cough, high fever, extreme fatigue, weight loss, and heavy night sweats.

Treatment

  • A skin test is performed in order to diagnose tuberculosis in humans. A positive skin test means that the individual is infected with TB. A negative skin test means the TB infection or disease is not detected. Two conditions can exist and therefore treatment can vary. Those that have latent TB infection contain the bacteria but lack symptoms and cannot transmit TB to others. If infected, there are medications that can be used in order to prevent the infection from becoming TB disease. TB disease means the bacteria is multiplying in the body and is therefore active and therefore it is classified as TB disease. Those with TB disease will experience being sick and having symptoms. Drugs can be used to fight the disease and this process can take several months.

Prevention

  • Be careful when traveling abroad and learn what areas may have an increased risk of contracting TB. If you work in a health care facility where TB is likely, you are at a higher risk. Make sure there are measures of disease control including airborne precautions, the proper treatment of those with TB, and early detection. Stay away from animals that are infected with TB and be cautious not to breathe the same air.

Handling Animals

  • Cattle and other livestock are common animals that infect humans with TB. Common signs in animals that are infected with TB are weight loss, weak appetite, swollen lymph nodes, a wet cough, and chronic mastitis (infection of the udder).

Other Facts

  • Individuals with a weak immune system are at an increased risk for TB. Isolate animals that are infected and do not get too close to them.
Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)
Description

  • Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an infection caused by bacteria and is usually spread from person to person.

Location

  • Leprosy is very rare in the United States, with fewer than 150 cases per year. The disease can be found worldwide more commonly in countries like Angola, Brazil, India, Nepal, and parts of Africa to name a few. If you travel to these countries, avoid long contact with people that have Hansen’s disease because you could be exposed to the bacteria.

Cause

  • The bacteria can spread in the air and infection can occur through inhalation of this air. If someone is infected, they can contaminate the air by coughing, sneezing, etc. Infection can also occur through other body fluids. The only animal known to transmit the Leprosy disease to humans is the armadillo. Cross-species transmission is very rare and therefore it is of little concern in this regard.

Symptoms

  • It will take between 2-10 years before signs and symptoms of leprosy will appear. Most symptoms are seen on the skin and mucous membranes. Signs are skin lesions, skin growths, thick and rough skin, pain, muscle weakness, eye problems, ulcers, enlarged nerves, and nosebleeds.

Treatment

  • Fortunately, this disease is very curable. The duration of treatment is between 6 months to 2 years through various antibiotics. The National Hansen’s Disease Program provides special clinics specifically for those being treated for Leprosy.

Prevention

  • Avoid those that carry the disease, especially when traveling abroad. Most prevention lies in the proper care and early diagnosis of people infected with Leprosy. Those that are aware they have the disease or could have the disease should take the proper steps to get treated and avoid contact with others, especially children.

Handling Animals

  • Because cross-species transmission is very rare, there is little concern when handling most animals. The only animal known to pose a threat to humans is the armadillo. If you live in an area where armadillos are found, avoid contact with them as a safety percussion.

Other Facts

  • Fortunately, most adults have very little risk of getting Leprosy even if exposed to the bacteria. Evidence suggests that 95% of adults are unable to get the disease even if exposed.
Anthrax
Description

  • Anthrax is a very dangerous disease caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis.

Location

  • Anthrax is rare in the United States and is more commonly found in agricultural regions in Central and South America, Asia, southern Europe, and the Caribbean. Outbreaks can occur in the U.S in both wild and domestic animals. These animals include deer and livestock.

Cause

  • Anthrax can naturally be found in soil, consequently infecting grazing animals both wild and domestic. Animals become infected when they inhale or consume the bacteria in contaminated soil, plants, water, etc. It is rare for humans to get infected but can become contaminated by the bacteria entering the body through consumption, breathing, and open wounds and cuts. Causes can also come from ingesting raw meat from infected animals. This is more common in areas that do not routinely vaccinate the livestock.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms can vary depending on what type of infection is present and can take up to a few months to appear. Signs can include: groups of small blisters, skin sores (ulcers), swelling of the sore, and these tend to form on the face, neck, and arms. Those who breathe in the bacteria can experience fever, chills, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, aches, sweats, cough, dizziness, and chest pain.

Treatment

  • Vaccines are available for animals with the disease and routinely vaccinations are important where the outbreak has already occurred.

Prevention

  • Anthrax is not contagious. Infection only occurs when the bacteria spores enter your body. Those who have already been exposed or have had Anthrax can benefit from antibiotics. If you work with animals in any setting, take extra percussion. Do not consume raw meat from animals that were injected or could have been infected with Anthrax. This is important when traveling to other countries where Anthrax is more common and animals are not properly vaccinated.

Handling Animals

  • Farmers, ranchers, slaughterhouse employees, and veterinarians have an increased risk of infection because of there exposure to animals.

Other Facts

  • It has been known that infection can occur in people who play drums and instruments made with animal hide and fur. Hides and furs that are imported are a potential risk. To be safe, only use hides and furs from animals from the U.S that are more likely to be healthy.
Escherichia Coli (E Coli)
Description

  • E Coli is a complex and large group of bacteria naturally found in the intestines of humans and people. Some E Coli bacteria are harmless and do not cause illness. Pathogenic stains will cause foodborne illnesses.

Location

  • E Coli can be found worldwide. Like most diseases/illnesses, E Coli is less common in areas that practice the safe production and preparation of raw food.

Cause

  • The main source of infection comes from the consumption of contaminated raw veggies, meats, and dairy. Some people may have the E Coli but are unaware and therefore unknowingly infect others.

Symptoms

  • Pathogenic E Coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory sickness, and other infections. Nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps are common as well. Symptoms only last for about a week or two but kidney and blood problems can occur after the initial symptoms pass and can cause kidney failure. If long-lasting diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting occur, seek medical attention.

Treatment

  • Preliminary treatments are mainly rest and drinking plenty of fluids to counteract the dehydration and fatigue caused by diarrhea and vomiting. Avoid taking over the counter medications that are anti-diarrheal because they slow down your digestive system. Antibiotics are usually not used because they can cause more complications. Serious cases of E Coli take hospitalization.

Prevention

  • E Coli is contagious and spreads easily especially when a person does not wash their hands after a bowel movement. E Coli can also spread from touching objects that are contaminated. Control measures are extremely important during the farming, processing, manufacturing, and preparation of food and agriculture.

Handling Animals

  • Those who are around animals, especially livestock, are at a higher risk for injection. Make sure you wash your hands frequently and thoroughly if you work with animals.

Other Facts

  • Following the Five Keys to Safer Good Program can help keep you safe from pathogenic E Coli. The five steps are:
      1. Keep Clean
      2. Separate raw foods from cooked foods
      3. Cook thoroughly
      4. Keep food at safe temperatures
      5. Use safe water and raw materials
Q Fever
Description

  • Q Fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii and can have both acute and chronic stages.

Location

  • Q Fever is found worldwide with a variety of species that can be infected. Most commonly Q Fever is found in livestock including cattle, sheep, and goats.

Cause

  • The bacteria in Q Fever can live in milk, urine, and droppings of infected animals. Unfortunately, this bacterium is not killed by heating and drying or by using disinfectants. Infection usually occurs through inhalation from the air. Tick bites and the consumption of raw milk and dairy products can also be causes of infection.

Symptoms

  • Acute symptoms occur about 2-3 weeks after contact and these symptoms include high fever, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain, chills, and sweats. Symptoms do vary from person to person. Chronic Q Fever occurs in a very small percentage of infected people. Pregnant women and those with weak immune systems and heart problems are at a higher risk.

Treatment

  • Antibiotics are used to treat Q Fever. Early diagnosis is important and if this condition is caught within a few days can usually go away within 72 hours with antibiotics. The antibiotics and treatments for pregnant women are different from other Q Fever patients.

Prevention

  • Avoid consuming raw dairy products and animals that may be infected. Avoid inhaling barn dust and any body fluids from potentially infected animals (birth fluids, blood, urine, saliva, etc.).

Handling Animals

  • Use caution if you often handle livestock and barnyard animals. Farmers and veterinarians can be targets for Q Fever.

Other Facts

  • California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas are among the states that account for about half of reported Q Fever cases.
Cryptococcosis
Description

  • Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that lives in the environment. Infection from C. Neoformans is called cryptococcosis. This infection attacks the lungs and the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spine.

Location

  • The Cryptococcus fungus lives and can be found worldwide, typically found in soil, on old and decaying wood.

Cause

  • People can be infected through inhalation of the fungus. Fortunately, most people who are exposed to the fungus do not get sick. Infection is very rare, especially those who are very healthy. However, those with weakened immune systems caused by illnesses such as HIV/AIDS have an increased risk of getting infected and fighting the infection. Fortunately, this infection is not contagious.

Symptoms

  • When C. neoformans infects the lungs, the symptoms are similar to pneumonia and include coughing, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. If the brain is infected symptoms may include: headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, neck pain, sensitivity to light, and changes in behavior due to confusion.

Treatment

  • Treatment can last longer than 6 months and is done through antifungal prescription medications all depending on how severe the conditions are. Treatment for children and pregnant women varies from other cases as well.

Prevention

  • Preventing Cryptococcosis can be difficult because it is hard not to breathe in air from the environment. Early detection can also be difficult because symptoms can start weeks after infection. Fortunately, most people never experience symptoms of Cryptococcosis.

Handling Animals

  • Although it is rare, pets and other animals can get Cryptococcosis but cannot transmit it to humans.

Other Facts

  • Along with inhalation of the fungus, infection can occur through bird droppings and unwashed fruit.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Description

  • Creutzfeldt or Jakob’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to dementia and eventually death. The disease is degenerative which is the progressive impairment of structural and functional parts of the body.

Location

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease can be found worldwide. It is fairly rare with only one diagnosed case per million people every year.

Cause

  • It is believed that the cause of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease is abnormal versions of a protein called prion. Prion becomes infectious and disturbs the normal biological processes. Fortunately, the risk of having this disease is rare and it is not contagious by normal contact. There have been some instances of infection by skin transplants, also known as iatrogenic CJD. Variant CJD is related to eating infected beef with BSE (mad cow disease). Causes can also be related to family history or by chance.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease are similar to other brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Others include impaired thinking, depression, anxiety, insomnia, difficulty speaking, memory loss, and changes in personality. Symptoms will worsen over time.

Treatment

  • Unfortunately, there is no cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease. There are drugs that can help reduce pain and other symptoms in hopes to make the patient feel comfortable.

Prevention

  • There is no way to prevent sporadic CJD and if you have a family history that puts you at a higher risk, you could talk to a genetics expert. Medical establishments follow strict policies for the safety and prevention of iatrogenic CJD.

Handling Animals

  • There is no cure for BSE or Mad Cow Disease. Ways to prevent BSE are avoiding, isolating, and destroying any infected animal.

Other Facts

  • In the United States, only 3 cows have been reported to have Mad Cow Disease, whereas in Canada there have been 19 reported cases.
Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris Infection)
Description

  • Baylisascaris infection is caused by the parasite or roundworm that is found in the intestines of raccoons. Roundworm can be transmitted to other animals, including pets as well as and humans. If infection occurs, the parasites will take over the brain and other organs. Human infection of raccoon roundworm is rare.

Location

  • This parasite is located in the intestines of raccoons and therefore could be a problem wherever raccoons are found.

Cause

  • Roundworm eggs can be found in the feces of infected raccoons. Transmission of this disease occurs through contact or ingestion of these feces. Consequently, these eggs can also be found in soil and water.

Symptoms

  • The severity of symptoms depends on how many eggs are ingested and can take up to a week to occur. These include nausea, enlarged liver, coordination loss, loss of muscle control, blindness, and even coma.

Treatment

  • Currently, there are no known drugs to treat Baylisascaris infection. Albendazole has been used in some cases. Early detection can reduce the serious damage that can occur from infection. Seek immediate medical care if you suspect you have been contaminated.

Prevention

  • Avoid any contact with raccoons and their feces. Always wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after spending time outside where raccoons are found. Never keep a raccoon as a pet. Raccoons rarely show signs of roundworm. If raccoons live in your area you can prevent them from coming in or near your home by preventing any access to food, garbage, or animal feed, seal off access to attics and basements, eliminate sources of water, remove bird feeders, and keep things like sandboxes well covered.

Handling Animals

  • Always call a professional to handle and remove raccoons and their feces. You may see feces at the base of trees, on fallen logs, stumps, or rocks. They can also be on your porches and in your attics.

Other Facts

  • Dogs can be infected with roundworms, make sure and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of your pets if raccoons are in the area.

Tick-Borne Diseases

Colorado Tick Fever
Description

  • Coltivirus from ticks in spring and early summer

Location

  • Mountains or highlands regions of western states and western Canada that contain rocky surfaces with moderate shrub cover and scattered pines

Cause

  • Acute and benign disease from getting bitten by a tick

Symptoms

  • High fever, headache, muscle aches, lethargy

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves

Handling Animals

  • Wild animals may behave unusually
  • Dumb rabies: Causes tremors and convulsions
  • Furious rabies: Causes aggressive behavior before convulsions and paralysis set in
  • Behavioral changes: friendliness, loss of fear, appearance in the daytime (for nocturnal animals), unprovoked attacks, bewilderment aimless wandering, unusual barking, crying and frothing at the mouth

Other Facts

  • 50–200 cases reported each year
  • 1438 cases reported between 1980–88, 63% in Colorado
  • Also transmitted to chipmunks, ground squirrels and deer mice
Tularemia
Description

  • Francisella tularensis bacteria transmitted in ticks

Location

  • North America, especially between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River

Cause

  • Getting bitten by a tick or drinking contaminated food or improperly cooked game meat and scratches or bites from infected animals

Symptoms

  • Sudden onset of high fever, chills, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, followed by slow-healing sores or lesions at the site of entry of bacteria, inflammation, swelling of lymph nodes

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves

Other Facts

  • Most cases are acquired during the summer months and the middle of winter
  • Animal hosts include rabbits, hares, rodents and birds
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Description

  • Rickettsia transmitted by ticks

Cause

  • Fever from a bite by an infected tick

Symptoms

  • Sudden onset of fever, severe headache, muscle pain, red rash three to six days after onset of symptoms that spreads to the palms of hands and soles of feet and then to the rest of the body.

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves

Other Facts

  • Animal hosts include wild rodents
Relapsing Fever
Description

  • Borrelia spirochete bacteria found in ticks in log cabins and houses containing rodent nests

Location

  • Mountainous regions of the western United States and British Columbia

Cause

  • A fever that recurs over and over again from getting bitten by an infected tick

Symptoms

  • Recurring fever, muscle, joint aches, and nausea

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Inspect cabins for rodents and nests
  • Treat cabins with insecticides or fumigate to kill any ticks

Other Facts

  • This type of tick is active at night
  • The tick bite is painless so it may go unnoticed
Lyme Disease
Description

  • Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria from ticks

Location

  • Mountains or highlands regions of western states and western Canada that contain rocky surfaces with moderate shrub cover and scattered pines

Cause

  • Bite by an infected tick

Symptoms

  • Headache, slight fever, muscle or joint pain, neck stiffness, swollen glands, jaw discomfort and inflammation of the eye membranes
  • A rash (erythema migrans) occurs in 65–75 percent of cases. The rash often looks like a bulls-eye with central clearing and/or darkening around the edge.
  • Additional skin lesions may appear in other areas and could last for days or weeks.
  • Heart, nervous system and join manifestations may develop if untreated.

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves

Other Facts

  • Over 9,000 cases were reported in 1992 in the northeastern and upper Midwest states in the United States, which were caused by the deer tick.
Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever
Description

  • Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is a bacterial infection and is known for recurring symptoms. The two types of recurring fevers are Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) and Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF).

Location

  • TBRF is most common in the western United States in mountainous areas. LBRF is more common to refugee areas in the world.

Cause

  • These relapsing fevers are caused by bacterium species borrelia, hermsii, borrelia parkerii, or borrelia turicatae. Humans are infected by the bite of a tick, more commonly at night. Ticks will feed for up to 30 minutes on the body before falling off. Often times, people are unaware they have been bitten because the bite is usually painless.

Symptoms

  • Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is characterized by recurring fever and can include other symptoms like headache, muscle and joint pain, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. These symptoms tend to occur about a week after being bitten. Relapse is usually about 3 times but has been known to have as many as 10 among patients that go untreated.

Treatment

  • Blood tests can determine if the Tick-borne Relapsing Fever bacteria is present. Antibiotics will help symptoms go away faster and usually last about 7 days.

Prevention

  • Avoid rodents and other animals common for carrying the disease. Homes and cabins should be rodent proof and professionals should be called to remove any rodent or tick infestation. Cabins in heavily wooded areas are especially at risk.

Handling Animals

  • Be cautious handling small animals like rodents, squirrels, rats, rabbits, chipmunks, and mice. Ticks will feed on these warm-blooded animals and consequently infect them with the bacteria.

Other Facts

  • Ticks will feed on any warm-blooded animal including humans. The presence of bacteria tends to be higher in women that are pregnant and can lead to a worse infection.
Human Ehrlichiosis
Cause

  • Ehrlichia chaffeensis transmitted by ticks

Symptoms

  • Acute fever with headache, muscle ache and nausea

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer.
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves.

Other Facts

  • In 1991 there were 262 cases and 4 deaths reported in four states in the United States, mostly occurring in Missouri and Oklahoma
Powassan Encephalitis
Cause

  • Flavivirus transmitted by ticks

Symptoms

  • Sudden onset of fever, sore throat, sleepiness, headache and disorientation
  • Encephalitis, meningitis, and partial paralysis may develop.

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer.
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves.

Other Facts

  • Animal hosts include marmots, sciurid rodents, rabbits, hares, carnivores and birds.
  • Only 19 cases have been reported, which were in New York, Pennsylvania, Ontario and Quebec
Babesiosis
Description

  • Protozoan disease

Location

  • Coastal areas of New England and adjacent offshore islands

Cause

  • Transmitted by wild rodents, especially white-footed mice.

Symptoms

  • Gradual onset of fever, sweating, loss of appetite, fatigue, general muscle ache, and possibly prolonged anemia.

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid tick-infested habitats during spring and early summer.
  • Use personal protection, such as wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves.

Flea-Borne Diseases

Plague
Description

  • Yersinia pestis bacteria transmitted by fleas and/or exposure to tissues or body fluids from diseased animals

Location

  • Southwestern part of the United States

Cause

  • Acute disease from getting bitten by an infected flea

Symptoms

  • High fever, headache, muscle aches, lethargySudden onset of fever and chills followed by swollen and painful lymph nodes in the armpits, groin, and other areas two to six days following exposure.
  • Could also lead to primary plague pneumonia.

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Spray skin with insect repellents
  • Treat field clothes with permethrin

Other Facts

  • Animal hosts include prairie dogs, rabbits, hares, carnivores and wild ungulates
  • 284 cases were reported between 1970–90, 50 percent of which were reported in New Mexico
Murine Typhus Fever
Description

  • Rickettsia typhi that are carried by rat fleas

Location

  • Gulf Coast states and southern California

Cause

  • Fever caused by a bite from rat fleas

Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain, backache, dull red rash beginning in the middle of the back, extremely high fever lasting up to 2 weeks, dry cough, headache, joint pain, nausea, vomiting

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Bathing, boiling clothes or avoiding infested clothing for five days

Other Facts

  • The organism enters the bloodstream when feces are scratched or rubbed into a flea-bite wound or other breaks in the skin.

Commensal Rodent-Borne Diseases

Rat-bite Fever
Description

  • Streptobacillus moniliformis bacteria found on the gums and teeth of rats

Cause

  • Fever after getting bit by a rat or by drinking milk or ingesting food contaminated by rat excrement

Symptoms

  • 2–10 days after exposure: abrupt onset of chills and fever, vomiting, back and joint pain, headache, muscle pain
  • 2–4 days after onset of fever: a rash on the hands and feet, joints may become swollen, red and painful

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Avoid contact with rats
  • Wear protective gloves and wash hands immediately after handling rats
  • Drink pasteurized milk and water from safe sources
Salmonellosis
Description

  • Salmonella bacteria from contaminated food from rat or mouse feces

Cause

  • Illness from consuming contaminated food

Symptoms

  • Food poisoning (sudden onset of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting) and blood poisoning

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Properly sanitize living areas and properly store and handle food
  • Rodent proof areas where people live
Leptospirosis
Description

  • Mild to severe infection from getting bitten by a rodent or drinking contaminated water

Cause

  • Leptospira bacteria transmitted by rodents

Symptoms

  • Diarrhea, chills, vomiting, myalgia, kidney damage

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

    • Proper sanitation and food storage and handling
    • Rodent-proofing
Rickettsialpox
Description

  • A mild disease resembling chickenpox from getting bitten by an infected mouse

Location

  • United States, South Africa, Korea, Russia

Cause

  • Rickettsia transmitted by house mice

Symptoms

  • Discomfort in bright light, fever, chills, muscle pain, rash similar to chickenpox, sweating

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Eliminate mice in homes
  • Keep pet mice in a clean environment

Bird-Borne Diseases

Histoplasmosis
Description

  • Respiratory disease caught from breathing in spores spread by the wind

Location

  • Traditional bird roosts, poultry farms, enclosed buildings where birds or bats have roosted, and natural and organic fertilizers where spores are widespread

Cause

  • Bird droppings enrich the soil and promote fungus growth

Symptoms

  • A mild case may go unnoticed
  • A severe case may cause acute respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms or it could result in the dissemination of the fungus through the bloodstream

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Disperse large numbers of birds if they are living close to humans or livestock and posing a threat. Test an area for Histoplasmosis before beginning work
  • Wear a self-contained breathing apparatus or face mask with a dust filter (less than two microns). Wear protective clothing, boots, gloves and disinfect everything. Clear or bulldoze an old bird roost when the weather is wet or cold or dampen the area with water before beginning work. Decontaminate an old bird roost with a three-five percent solution of formaldehyde before clearing.

Other Facts

  • Histoplasmosis fungus grows beneath bird roosts but it can’t form spores because of the acidic conditions in fresh droppings.
  • Spores can be released after droppings have dried out or been leached by the rain or if the soil is stirred up under dusty conditions.
Ornithosis
Description

  • Chlamysia psittavi, which is a virus-like organism in pigeons, parakeets, farm poultry or waterfowl

Location

  • Anywhere birds are present

Cause

  • Infectious respiratory disease by inhaling dried bird secretions

Symptoms

  • Mild pneumonia or flu-like symptoms that can rapidly become fatal

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Wear a face mask or respirator if working in a dry dusty area where bird droppings are present.
  • Spray work areas with water and disinfectants to minimize the potential for airborne particles.

Other Facts

  • Less than 1% of the cases have been reported in the United States
  • Although birds can carry the disease, they have adapted to it
Psittacosis
Description

  • Psittacosis is also known as parrot disease and is caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci.

Location

  • Psittacosis is rare in the United States with as little as 100-200 cases a year.

Cause

  • The bacterium that causes Psittacosis is found in bird droppings and consequently, these birds infect humans. Common birds that carry Psittacosis are parrots, hens, ducks, pigeons, sparrows, and gulls.

Symptoms

  • If a bird is infected with Psittacosis, they will show certain signs such as inflammation of the eyes, watery droppings, and difficulty breathing. In humans, the symptoms are bloody coughing, headaches, fever, muscle pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These symptoms appear anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks from infection. Symptoms increase in severity over the course of these 2 weeks.

Treatment

  • Doses of antibiotics can be given to birds with Psittacosis. These are usually injected or put in their food and water. Treatment for humans involves proper diagnosis through tests and cultures from blood and respiratory secretions. These can include blood cultures, x-rays, CT scans, and spectrum cultures. After diagnosis, antibiotics can help cure the infection. Early diagnosis is very important in humans. Seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms because they get worse over time.

Prevention

  • Humans should avoid contact with birds that may carry the bacteria. Imported parrots are common carriers of the bacteria. If you have a weak immune system take extra precaution.

Handling Animals

  • Those that are in contact with these types of birds have a higher risk of getting infected. These include pet owners, pet store workers, zoo workers, and handlers. If you have pet birds or are a veterinarian, know the signs of Psittacosis.

Other Facts

  • Prolonged infection can result in serious health problems. Heart valve infection, inflammation of the liver, and decreased lung function are common problems.
Influenza Flu (H1N1)
Description

  • Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness. There are two types of influenza viruses, Type A and Type B.

Location

  • The flu is common across the United States and worldwide. Peak flu season is during the winter between December and February. Cases are known to be present from October to May.

Cause

  • Type A is found primarily in wild birds like ducks. Other animals that carry Type A are chickens, pigs, and horses. Type B is transmitted from person to person. Avian Flu is a disease transmitted by wild birds and can infect domestic animals and livestock. It is rare for this virus to infect humans, however, there have been cases reported. Type B influenza is airborne and can be spread from up to 6 feet away.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny and stuffy nose, body and headaches, chills, sweats, and fatigue. Symptoms in animals, especially pigs, are similar to those that humans experience. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur but is more common in children.

Treatment

  • Prescription antiviral drugs are used to treat flu illness. Antivirals are different from antibiotics; they fight against bacterial infections in the body.

Prevention

  • Prevention for Type B starts with getting the flu vaccination. Some will argue the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Antiviral drugs are used secondary once symptoms have occurred. These antiviral medications will help reduce symptoms by a few days and can also be used to treat pneumonia. Prevention for Type A is to avoid exposure to infected animals or dead poultry. The seasonal flu vaccine will not prevent Type A influenza, however, it can help with co-infection with Type A influenza. To avoid Type B influenza, stay away from people that are sick and who are coughing, and sneezing.

Handling Animals

  • Those that handle poultry have a higher risk of getting Type A influenza. It is recommended that certain control tactics be practiced. Examples are protective equipment and washing hands often and thoroughly. The World Health Organization (WHO) has guidance for disease control.

Other Facts

  • If you have the flu, you could potentially infect others as early as 1 day before you start to see symptoms. Children and those with a weak immune system should take extra precautions, especially during flu season.
Cercarial Dermatitis – Swimmer’s Itch
Description

  • Swimmer’s Itch is a rash that often occurs after swimming in the outdoors. It is more common in freshwater lakes and ponds and less commonly occurs from salt water.

Location

  • Found in wild birds and other animals as well as in the water where these animals may be found.

Cause

  • This is caused by an allergic reaction to parasites that live in the water and in animals in that area. Fortunately, these parasites soon die while in your skin and recovery is quick. The parasites can be found in ducks, geese, beavers, gulls, and muskrats. The eggs of this parasite can enter the water and contamination can also occur through the feces of animals infected.

Symptoms

  • The rash will look similar to blisters or small pimples. The rash can be seen almost immediately after exposer has occurred. Skin that is uncovered by clothes or swimwear is the area where the rash occurs. Fortunately, Swimmer’s Itch is not contagious.

Treatment

  • The rash will clear within a few days and over the counter medications to help with itching can bring relief. If the rash lasts more than one week, or if areas start to pus, seek medical attention.

Prevention

  • Symptoms of Swimmer’s Itch will worsen every time you become re-infected so be mindful and careful where you choose to swim. If Swimmer’s Itch is common, avoid outdoor swimming. Deeper water is less likely to be contaminated with the parasites. Rinse and clean your skin right after swimming and do not encourage animals to the area.

Handling Animals

  • It is always safe to avoid contact with wild animals as well as their feces. Avoid feeding animals and preventing them to come near the water or general area.

Other Facts

  • Don’t scratch! Use cream or other household remedies to relieve itching.
Other Bird-borne Diseases

Cause

  • Pigeons, starlings, sparrows, blackbirds and other birds

Symptoms

  • Varies by disease

Treatment

  • Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention

  • Wear a face mask or respirator if working in a dry dusty area where bird droppings are present.
  • Spray work areas with water and disinfectants to minimize the potential for airborne particles.

Insect-Borne Disease

West Nile Virus
Description

  • West Nile Virus is an infection that usually transmitted by mosquitoes.

Location

  • West Nile Virus is present in 48 out of the 50 states in the United States, excluding Hawaii and Alaska. Outbreaks occur in the summertime.

Cause

  • West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitos and only a very small percentage of transmission comes from blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to newborn baby. Keep in mind these are VERY rare. West Nile Virus is not passed on from person to person or from animal to person through common contact.

Symptoms

  • About 70-80% of those infected with West Nile Virus do not experience symptoms. A very small percentage of people can experience fevers, headaches, body aches, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness, and most of which make a full recovery.

Treatment

  • There are no vaccines or medications for West Nile Virus. Most of those infected with West Nile Virus do not have any symptoms and less than 1% of those that do have to develop serious illnesses due to West Nile Virus. If fever occurs, over the counter medications can help reduce symptoms. In very rare and severe cases, patients can be hospitalized.

Prevention

  • Wear protective clothing like long sleeves, pants, hats, etc. and use insect repellents especially in the summer months, and when around water to prevent mosquito bites. Also, be mindful that dusk and dawn are peak mosquito hours. Putting screens on your windows and doors will also help protect against mosquitos as well as emptying a large amount of water found in buckets, pet dishes, birdbaths, etc.

Handling Animals

  • Seeing a large number of dead birds may be a sign of the West Nile Virus. Reporting dead birds to health departments in your area can help prevent West Nile Virus. Do not dispose of the dead birds on your own. Contact professionals in order for the birds to properly be handled and tested.

Other Facts

  • Many factors can affect the statistics regarding West Nile Virus including weather patterns, number of birds, number of mosquitos that carry the virus, and human behavior.

There are many issues to be aware of when encountering and handling animals, including diseases, methods of handling, and precautions. You can ensure greater safety by reviewing this information about public health concerns and general precautions.

Public Health Concerns

Diseases of wildlife can cause significant illness and death to individual animals and can significantly affect wildlife populations. Wildlife species can also serve as natural hosts for certain diseases that affect humans (zoonoses). The disease agents or parasites that cause these zoonotic diseases can be contracted from wildlife directly by bites or contamination, or indirectly through the bite of arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and mites that have previously fed on an infected animal. These zoonotic diseases are primarily acquired in certain locations, occupations, or recreational activities.

Biologists, field assistants, hunters, and other individuals who work directly with wildlife have an increased risk of acquiring these diseases. Some individuals have also been infected with plagues, tularemia, and leptospirosis when handling and skinning rodents, rabbits, and carnivores. Some have also been infected with diseases like Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease while spending time in prime locations disease hosts. Therefore, general precautions should be taken to reduce risks of exposure, prevent infection, and enjoy the environment without worrying about the risks.

General Precautions

Use extreme caution when approaching or handling a wild animal that looks sick or abnormal to guard against those diseases contracted directly from wildlife. Procedures for basic personal hygiene and cleanliness of equipment are important for any activity but become a matter of major health concern when handling animals or their products that could be infected with disease agents. Basic precautions include:

  1. Wearing protective clothing, especially disposable rubber or plastic gloves, when dissecting or skinning wild animals.
  2. Scrubbing the work area, knives, other tools, and reusable gloves with soap or detergent and then with diluted household bleach.
  3. Avoiding eating and drinking while handling or skinning animals and washing hands thoroughly when finished.
  4. Safely disposing of carcasses and tissues and any contaminated disposable items like plastic gloves.
  5. Cooking meat from wild game thoroughly before eating.
  6. Contacting a physician if you become sick following exposure to a wild animal or parasites that live on the animal. Inform the physician of your possible exposure to a zoonotic disease.

Fungal Diseases

Precautions against acquiring fungal diseases should be taken when working in high-risk areas that contain contaminated soil or accumulations of animal feces, such as under large bird roosts or in buildings or caves containing bat colonies.

Prevention – Wear protective masks to reduce or prevent the inhalation of fungal spores.

Vector Diseases (Such as Lyme Disease)

Precautions against vector-borne diseases should be taken when working in Protection from high-risk areas, such as thick forests or warm and wet environments.

Prevention – Wearing mosquito or tick repellent, special repellant clothing, tucking pant cuffs into socks, checking clothing, body, and pets and removing insects.

Other Tips – You can reduce your risk of coming in contact with infected mosquitos by avoiding outdoors in the early evening. Becoming aware of the early symptoms of these diseases and the conditions of exposure are essential in preventing severe illness if you believe you may be infected.

For more information on any of the above go to www.cdc.gov/ (opens in a new window) and search ‘Zoonotic Diseases (opens in a new window)’.


The National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (opens in a new window) aims to prevent disease, disability, and death caused by a wide range of Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases | CDC 24/7 Health  (opens in a new window)

  • www.cdc.gov/about/report/2013/reports/emerging-infectious-diseases.html

Zoonotic Diseases | One Health | CDC (opens in a new window)

  • www.cdc.gov/onehealth/zoonotic-diseases.html

For more detailed information on this subject, Critter Control highly recommends what we consider the definitive new book on:

HUMAN DISEASES FROM WILDLIFE

Michael R. Conover, College of Natural Resources Utah State University Logan, Utah

Rosanna M. Vail, Global Campus Kansas State University Manhattan, Kansas

CRC Press – Taylor & Francis Group  an Informa business www.crcpress.com (opens in a new window)

6000 Broken Sound Parkway, NW Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487

711 Third Avenue New York, NY 10017

Need Help Removing Nuisance Wildlife?

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Contact the professionals at Critter Control of Boston to safely and effectively remove wildlife from your home or business, 617-975-0440.

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