Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are referred to as animal-borne, or zoonotic, diseases. These diseases can be carried by various animals and insects (e.g., rodents, mosquitoes or ticks) and can then be transmitted to humans. Animal-borne diseases are more common during the summer when people tend to be outdoors more often and for longer periods of time and when insects and wild animals are more active.
Examples of zoonotic diseases include:
- Bubonic Plague
- Colorado Tick Fever [external link]
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome [external link]
- West Nile Virus
- Western Equine Encephalitis
Jefferson County Public Health recommends that everyone help control the presence of rodents and mosquitoes around their homes. When heading outdoors, particularly to areas where wild animals and insects are active, everyone should wear insect repellent and appropriate clothing, and pets should also have proper protection from fleas and ticks. Do not handle sick or dead animals or animal waste. A few simple precautions go a long way toward prevention animal-borne disease.
Check out our brochure on preventing animal-borne disease (PDF) for more information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers general information on a variety of diseases spread by animals or by parasites from animals. The Colorado State University Extension Office offers general information on rabbits [external link] and controlling populations.
The Zoonosis Program
The Zoonosis Program deals directly with the health hazards created by mammals, insect, arthropods and other vector pests that may carry disease. The goal of the program is to prevent the spread of disease to humans via vector pests and wild animals by conducting an integrated program of education, monitoring, trend analysis and some specimen testing when and where it is required. Additionally, the program monitors animal activity and die-offs, and provides information to the public, HOAs, cities and park and recreation districts. The Zoonosis Program and local animal control agencies operate an animal bite management program to determine possible rabies exposure to people and/or their pets.
For more information contact the JCPH Environmental Health Services Zoonosis Program at 303-271-5700.