Zoonotic Diseases: How To Protect Yourself Against This Deadly Threat to Pet Owners

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We all love our furry friends. However, animals sometimes contain dangerous pathogens that may infect humans and cause sickness; these diseases are referred to as zoonotic diseases.

Owners of non-traditional pets have a higher risk of catching zoonotic diseases

The danger of contracting zoonotic diseases, which are infections that transfer between animals and humans, increases when people come into contact with non-traditional pets. In a guide published in the peer-reviewed journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyze the risk to pet owners and provide prevention recommendations.

“Guidance on preventing zoonotic diseases, caused by pathogens that spread between animals and people is urgently needed,” state Kate Varela, DVM, MPH, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, writing on behalf of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians in collaboration with and reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the data, rodents, backyard poultry, and reptiles have all been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases in humans in the United States. These and other non-traditional pet animal species with a high risk of spreading zoonotic diseases are included in this compendium. Other animal species included in the compendium include amphibians, other aquatic animals, and non-rodent mammals like hedgehogs and ferrets.

Pets that carry zoonotic pathogens can look healthy, putting pet owners and others at risk. In actuality, the majority of the viruses included in the compendium don’t make the animal host ill. Animal contact, whether direct or indirect, can spread zoonotic pathogens.

The compendium includes a list of frequent risk factors that might contribute to sickness in non-traditional pet animals. It includes an overview of recognized outbreaks, case reports, and pathogen types in the United States from 1996 to 2017. The article provides a thorough review of zoonotic pathogens seen in non-traditional pets. It also provides advice for preventing the transmission of zoonotic pathogens.

“This dedicated issue of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, published at a time of heightened public awareness of monkeypox, provides information on zoonotic pathogens associated with many species of non-traditional pets, and is a global resource for the pet industry, pet owners, veterinarians, physicians, researchers, and many others,” says Stephen Higgs, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases and Director, Biosecurity Research Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

Reference: “A Review of Zoonotic Disease Threats to Pet Owners: A Compendium of Measures to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases Associated with Non-Traditional Pets Such as Rodents and Other Small Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Backyard Poultry, and Other Selected Animals” by Kate Varela, Jennifer A. Brown, Beth Lipton, John Dunn, Danielle Stanek, NASPHV Committee Consultants, Casey Barton Behravesh, Helena Chapman, Terry H. Conger, Tiffany Vanover, Thomas Edling, Stacy Holzbauer, Angela M. Lennox, Scott Lindquist, Suzan Loerzel, Shelley Mehlenbacher, Mark Mitchell, Michael Murphy, Christopher W. Olsen and Cody M. Yager, 17 June 2022, Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.
DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2022.0022

1 Comment on "Zoonotic Diseases: How To Protect Yourself Against This Deadly Threat to Pet Owners"

  1. The root cause of pretty much ALL (past/current/future) pandemics is the contact w/ wild animals (which carry absolutely massive numbers of viruses, diseases, parasites)!
    & the real best/effective solution would be a global law/agreement that absolutely bans sale/trade/hunting/eating/petting of ALL wild animals (starting by a certain future date like 10 or 20 years ahead (so all countries can prepare themselves))!

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