Diseases Humans Can Get from Animals (Zoonosis)

Every year, tens of thousands of Americans will get sick from diseases spread between animals and people. These are known as zoonotic diseases.


How do germs spread between animals and people?

Because of the close connection between people and animals, it’s important to be aware of the common ways people can get infected with germs that can cause zoonotic diseases. These can include:

  • Direct contact: Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucus, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal. Examples include petting or touching animals, and bites or scratches.
  • Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with germs. Examples include aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes.
  • Vector-borne: Being bitten by a tick, or an insect, like a mosquito or a flea.
  • Foodborne: Each year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. Eating or drinking something unsafe (such as unpasteurized milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables(https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/foodborne-germs.html) that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal).

Zoonoses in Pueblo

Currently, the disease the health department sees the most in Pueblo is the rabies virus. Rabies is spread through contact with a rabid animal’s saliva. Rabies most commonly occurs in bats and skunks in Pueblo County; although other mammals can carry the virus. The health department’s role in this program is to protect the community by tracking animals that test positive for rabies and managing domestic animals that may have encountered a rabid animal. The health department also aids people who come in contact with possibly rabid animals. Tularemia in the rabbit populations and plague in the prairie dogs can be acquired by hiking or hunting where exposure to fleas, ticks, and infected animals may occur. Mosquitos can transfer West Nile virus and other diseases


Role of the Health Department

The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment plays an important role in monitoring and surveillance of many other diseases as well. Tracking any outbreaks as well as, educating the public on signs, symptoms, and causes of such vector-borne diseases helps the health department accomplish the goal of keeping the Pueblo community as healthy as possible. CRS Title 25, Article 4, Part 6 (§§ 25-4-601 — 25-4-615)

Pueblo City Ordinance also specifies the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment as the agency responsible for licensing kennels and catteries within the City of Pueblo.

For additional information on zoonotic diseases refer to the menu on the right, as well as information on bed bugs, which do not cause disease in humans.


Contact Information 719-583-4300 (option 8).

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