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Zoonotic diseases (also called zoonoses) are infectious diseases that can be spread from animals to humans. There are many zoonotic diseases, and their threat to human health is growing due to increasing global movement of people and animals and the effects of human populations expanding into previously undeveloped wildlife habitats. Climate change may also lead to greater zoonotic disease threats.

Some zoonotic diseases are transmitted directly from animals to people, some result from contamination of the environment by animals, and others require a vector such a tick or mosquito.  Zoonotic diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.

Facts, guidelines and permits

  • Pet and animal-related business permits
  • Zoonotic diseases from A-to-Z
  • Diseases by animal
  • Animal disposal information
  • Persons at higher risk (immunocompromised) of getting zoonotic diseases
  • Brochures and other publications
  • Licensing agencies and animal shelters in King County

Resources for veterinarians

  • King County Vet Updates
  • Infection control plan for horse facilities
  • Zoonotic disease reference manual for veterinary practitioners
  • Rabies information and resources
  • Canine influenza virus (CIV) case report form
  • Canine leptospirosis resources
  • Giardia and animals fact sheet
  • Related links

The Zoonotic Disease Program provides information for King County residents about prevention and control of zoonotic diseases and also performs the following roles:

  • Consults with veterinarians and other medical professionals on potential cases of zoonotic disease in animals
  • Investigates animal cases or outbreaks
  • Provides on-site infection control recommendations for animal exhibits (e.g., fairs, farm tours)
  • Conducts active surveillance for zoonotic diseases (e.g., West Nile virus)
  • Provides community-based health education.

The program is also responsible for licensing, inspecting, and responding to complaints about pet shops, boarding kennels and pet daycare businesses in the city of Seattle and assisting with disease prevention at animal shelters.

The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. Recognizing that human health, animal health, and ecosystem health are inseparably linked, One Health seeks to promote, improve, and defend the health and well-being of all species. It works to enhance communication and collaboration between physicians, veterinarians, and other scientific health and environmental professionals. Goals of One Health include accelerating biomedical research discoveries, enhancing public health efficacy, expanding the scientific knowledge base, and improving medical education and clinical care. 


Contact us

Zoonotic Disease Program
401 5th Ave, Suite 1100
Seattle, WA 98104

206-263-9566

Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/zoonotic

Get Zoonotic Disease Program e-mail updates