May 07, 2019
As the days get longer, sunnier and warmer people tend to spend more time outside. With the proper sun protection, this is a great perk of the season. However, we do need to be wary of illnesses that can spread between animals and humans if we’re going to be coexisting in the same outdoor space.
The Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday a list of the eight zoonotic diseases — those that can be spread between humans and animals — that are of highest concern in the United States.
The CDC report explains:
“Every year, tens of thousands of Americans get sick from diseases spread between animals and people. CDC’s One Health Office is collaborating with DOI, USDA, and other partners across the government to bring together disease detectives, laboratorians, physicians, and veterinarians to prevent those illnesses and protect the health of people, animals, and our environment,” said Casey Barton Behravesh, M.S., D.V.M., Dr.P.H., director, One Health Office, CDC.
The report calls for the use of something called a “One Health” approach, which looks at the whole picture of the relationship between plants, animals, humans and the shared environment. This method also calls experts in each of those fields to come together to promote health in each individual group and as a whole, the report explains.
Experts are calling for this approach because six out of 10 infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, the CDC reports.
The zoonotic diseases of most concern in the U.S., according to the CDC, are:
• Zoonotic influenza: While uncommon, there have been cases in which humans contracted the flu from animals.
• Salmonellosis: Oftentimes stems from improperly handled, or cooked, food products including things like tuna, turkey and melons.
• West Nile virus: Spread to humans by a bite from an infected mosquito.
• Plague: Affects both humans and mammals, caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis.
• Emerging coronaviruses (e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome): A virus that spreads through coughing and is deadly in 3 or 4 out of 10 cases.
• Rabies: A preventable disease caused by the bite from a rabid animal
• Brucellosis: Often caused by consuming animal products contaminated with the bacteria.
• Lyme disease: Transmitted to humans by bites from infected black-legged ticks.