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. Climatic change may also lead to greater zoonotic diseases 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. Examples of zoonotic diseases include:
- Bacterial - Salmonella, E. coli, leptospirosis
- Viral - Rabies, avian influenza
- Fungal - Ringworm, sporotrichosis
- Parasitic - Toxoplasmosis, larval migrans due to roundworms
- West Nile virus, spread by mosquitoes
- Lyme disease, spread by ticks
Public Health - Seattle & King County's Zoonotic Disease Program provides information for King County residents about prevention and control of zoonotic diseases. Program staff consult with veterinarians and other medical professionals on potential cases of zoonotic disease in animals; investigate animal cases or outbreaks; provide on-site infection control recommendations for animal exhibits (e.g., fairs, farm tours); conduct active surveillance for zoonotic diseases (e.g., West Nile virus); and provide community-based health education. The Zoonotic Disease 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 Public Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section is responsible for control and prevention of communicable diseases, including zoonotic diseases, in humans in King County.
One Health Initiative: 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. Watch a quick, introductory video on the One Health concept.