Zoonosis – What is it and how to prevent it

In today’s blog I’m going to talk about zoonosis. Zoonosis is any infectious diseases that can be transmitted from a wild or a domestic animal to a human.

Zoonosis can be spread by faecal oral contacts e.g. Crypzoonosislogotosporidium is spread in water contaminated with animal faeces. Cryptosporidium also known as crypto which is microscopic parasite that causes diarrhoea.
Zoonosis can also be spread by a direct contact by touching animals that have ringworm. Ringworm is a commonly misunderstood with a worm but ringworm is a fungus growing on a surface of the skin and it’s extremely contagious. Diseases can also be transmitted through wild or domestic animal bites transmitting rabies.

Three common diseases transmitted from animal to a human.
1. Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a spiral shaped bacteria. It’s found especially in water where infected animals passed their urine e.g. Rats. This disease not only affects humans but other animals such as birds and reptiles. Leptospirosis enters the body through cuts, broke skin and mucous membrane. The organs that are affected the most as liver and kidneys.
The symptoms of leptospirosis area headaches, flu, meningitis liver and kidney failure and death.
If recognised quick enough leptospirosis can be treated with penicillin and fluids.
2. Ringworm (fungus)
Ringworm is spread through contact with other infected animals only. It affects skin, nails and hair. Spores scatter in the environment and can be found in carpets, bedding, and furniture. Ringworm can live for up to 18 months in the environment.
The treatment of ringworm is not that hard but can take time. First of all you should clean the environment. Then if you find ringworm on your pet take him to the vet immediately as the vet can prescribe medication for your pet such as anti-fungal creams and oral drugs. It’s the same for humans.
The total treatment time is around 2-3 weeks. Of course it depends on a person and how big the infection is.
3. Rabies
Ireland is rabies free country. The last person that was recorded with rabies was in 1903 and since then there was no rabies in the country.
All mammals can get rabies! It’s a deadly virus which is secreted in the saliva of infected animals which bites someone. The virus goes straight to their blood stream affecting the whole body. There’s no treatment for rabies at the moment.
There are two forms of rabies
Furious rabies – very common in dogs. When infected the dog have personality changes, an increase in saliva and eventually paralysis of the throat. Eventually they become hydrophobia meaning they have a fear of water. They can’t drink water and if they try they choke.
Paralytic or dumb rabies – commonly affects herbivores such as cows, wheels, pigs. The affected animal is why, nervous and has a paralysis of jaw and muscles, which is extremely painful as the animal can’t move at all.
There’s no treatment of rabies but you can prevent it from spreading by vaccinating your pets when travelling to a different countries. Humans can get rabies vaccination as well if travelling to other countries. So if a person gets bitten by an infected animal it gives them more time before they get medical help.

Preventing zoonosis
To prevent the spreading of zoonosis you should wear protective clothing, gowns and wellies if you’re working with animals.
Hygiene is everything you should always keep a strict hygiene in the animals enclosure.
Other very common zoonosis are cat bite fever, salmonella and mange mites.
So be careful if you’re travelling to different countries. Always check before you travel to make sure you don’t need any vaccinations and ALWAYS make sure you eat fresh food.

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