Zoonoses/Shared Disease:

Animals give so much to our lives in so many ways, but our close connections also bring risks. Zoonotic (pronounced “ZOO-oh-NOT-ick”) diseases are diseases that are spread from animals to humans. It is estimated that 75% of all emerging diseases are zoonotic.

Disease from farmer to soldier… how are they connected?

By Azureen Erdman

You might already know there are a number of diseases that you can get from your farm animals. One such disease is known as Q fever, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Though your animals might appear healthy, shedding can occur through the fetal membranes, placenta, milk, urine, and feces. Manifestation of this disease in your animals could be seen with late-term abortions, stillbirths, retained placentas, endometritis, and infertility.  It is believed only 40 percent of humans exposed to Q fever will show any signs, and a majority of those who show signs will just appear with “flu-like” symptoms for a few days. Two to five percent of exposed humans will develop respiratory infections.  More symptoms can manifest from this disease, however rare. Contact with a sheep, goat, cow, or cat during the birth process is the most common source of disease for humans. Once this bacterium is shed into the environment, it can survive on its own and be spread by wind to infect a human with no contact to livestock. In fact, multiple reports of Q fever have been seen within various armed forces groups around the world.

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Veterinarians at the front lines of disease prevention

On its website, The National Journal takes a look at the One Health concept and the role veterinarians are playing in combating epidemics and preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases. It’s worth a read, and it was even posted on Public Health Thank You Day, a day designed to recognize everyone who works in public health — including veterinarians, who make important contributions to the field.

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Ebola in the news

Ebola has been in the news lately, as an American infected with Ebola in Liberia is being treated in Atlanta. Ebola is a rare disease, and there are no approved drugs available to treat it — nor are there approved vaccines. People infected with Ebola are given care to help their immune systems fight the virus.

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Study: one tick bite can expose people to two or more diseases

We know that ticks can carry Lyme disease, but researchers have found that people can be exposed to two — sometimes even three — diseases when they’re bitten by a tick.

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Pet cat tests positive for rabies in Colorado

In Colorado, an indoor/outdoor domestic cat tested positive for rabies after it bit and scratched its owner, who is receiving post-exposure treatment. Two dogs in the household are under a 45-day home observation, and thankfully both are up-to-date on their vaccines. This is an important reminder to have your pets vaccinated for rabies, and to make sure those vaccines stay current.

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