What is zoonoses?

Zoonoses is a scientific term for those diseases which are transmissible from animals to humans and vice versa. It is important to have basic knowledge about zoonoses as besides being a reason for most modern diseases, it is also ardent occupational hazard. And we all are at a soaring risk to be affected by these disease as 75% of the human diseases in last decade were found to be zoonotic. De facto, out of all the known agents infecting the humans 61% are zoonotic.

Zoonoses can be accounted by any of the etiological agents like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites and these all are prevalent all over the world. Instances of outbreak can be either of sporadic, endemic or pandemic forms which sometimes causes exaggerated disasters.


Main mode of spread is due to contact with animals either directly or indirectly.

Direct transmission-When transmitted from human to animal then it is called as Zooanthroponosis, while when from animal to humans is known as Anthropozoonosis and term Amphixenosis is for ones which are equally exchangeable between both humans and animals.

Indirect transmission-This involves the role of intermediate host as a carrier and can also be through inanimate objects like soil, plants, organic matter, food , water etc. The most brutal being the iatrogenic in origin.

Major modes of exposure

Veterinarians, animal workers and workers of meat industry are at an inescapable risk of acquiring these diseases. Next major source are pets, dogs are source of fatal disease like rabies, cats are source of toxoplasmosis. While ringworm, giardia, dirofilaria etc. are also equally dangerous zoonoses . Increased contact between humans and wildlife is also a culprit as it is resultant of human activities like, encroachment of human activity into forest areas or even by the movement of wild animals into areas of human activity. Outbreak of zoonoses can also be traced to aesthetic activities and interaction of humans with animals in zoos, fairs, hunting and consuming bush meat.

Diseases prevalent

Rabies is epitome for the zoonotic disease, which spreads by bite of the rabid animal. Other such examples include the influenza, ringworm infection, salmonellosis, malaria, dengue.

Now-a-days prevalent, most of the deadly disease like Ebola virus infection, Swine fever, Nipah virus infection, Zika virus infection, Rift valley fever etc. falls under the heading of zoonotic disease. While many others which have been neglected but are omnipresent, but alleged for causing fatalities since centuries are also zoonotic.

If cannot escape, we can at least reduce the chances of the zoonoses by maintaining simple hygiene, washing hands after exposure to animals, routinely vaccinating our pets, and regular deworming.