top of page

Understanding Zoonoses: When Animals Transmit Diseases to Humans

Zoonosis refers to the transmission of diseases from animals to humans. These diseases can be transmitted through various routes, including direct contact, vectors like mosquitoes and ticks, and consumption of contaminated animal products. It is important to differentiate zoonoses from human-to-human transmission, as animals often serve as reservoirs or carriers of these diseases. This article explores the different types of pathogens involved, the individuals most affected, the role of pets and wildlife, and the impact of globalization on zoonotic transmission.

Zoonoses can be caused by various microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and microscopic fungi. However, it is crucial to note that not all animal diseases are transmissible to humans, and vice versa. Allergies, for example, are not classified as zoonoses. Understanding the nature of these pathogens helps in identifying and preventing their transmission.

Individuals who have direct or repeated contact with animals, such as farmers, veterinarians, and slaughterhouse staff, are particularly vulnerable to zoonotic infections. These professions involve close interaction with animals, increasing the chances of disease transmission. Outdoor workers face increased risks of Lyme disease, transmitted by tick bites.

Zoonoses can also be transmitted from pets to their owners. Conditions like ringworm, a fungal skin infection, are common in dogs, cats, and horses and can be passed on to humans. A good hygiene and a responsible ownership are required to prevent them. 

Propriétaire de chien

Consuming animal products can also expose humans to certain zoonoses. In rare cases, food products may harbor pathogenic microorganisms or parasites, posing health risks to consumers. Salmonella is a prime example and often causes outbreaks of food poisoning. Proper hygiene practices and quality control measures in production and distribution chains play a crucial role in reducing the risk of zoonotic infections from animal products.

Globalization has had a significant impact on the transmission of zoonoses. Factors such as pathogen adaptations, environmental changes due to global warming, and the movement of people, animals, and vectors facilitate the spread of diseases across borders. 


Preventing and combating zoonoses require a multifaceted approach that includes robust surveillance systems and collaboration between human and animal health professionals. By understanding the transmission routes, risk factors, and preventive measures, we can mitigate the impact of zoonotic diseases and protect both human and animal populations.

Vétérinaire bovin
Garçon avec bébé poussin

Antibiotics in Livestock Farming and the Risk of Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics play a crucial role in combating bacterial infections in both humans and animals. However, their use in livestock farming raises concerns about antibiotic resistance. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of antibiotics, their use in veterinary medicine, the emergence of antibiotic resistance, and measures taken to address this issue.

bandeau GIS avenir_crop.png
bandeau GIS avenir_crop_edited.jpg


Home page

Continue to explore

bottom of page