Monthly Safety Blast – Preventing Zoonotic Diseases

Avoid the “love” bugs, don’t kiss the animals!

We know love is in the air this month. And while there isn’t really a love bug, viruses, bacteria, funguses, parasites, and other microorganisms can pass from people to animals and vice versa especially through kissing.

WHAT ARE ZOONOTIC DISEASES?

Zoonotic Diseases, or zoonoses, are infectious diseases that can be transmitted between animals and people. They cause different types of illnesses ranging from mild to serious symptoms and are sometimes fatal.

MOST COMMON AND CONTAGIOUS GERMS THAT CAUSE DIARRHEAL ZOONOTIC DISEASES ON THE FARM AND THEIR SYMPTOMS

  • Campylobacter (bacteria)
  • Salmonella (bacteria)
  • coli O157:H7 (bacteria)
  • Cryptosporidium (parasite)

Most common symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps and pain, fever and vomiting.

ANIMALS MOST LIKELY TO CARRY ZOONOTIC DISEASES

  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Turkeys
  • Even if an animal appears healthy, it could still pass these germs to you.

HOW ARE THESE GERMS TRANSMITTED?

By swallowing these germs, which can be found in water, food, soil or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans or animals. Young children are more likely to get sick because they often touch contaminated surfaces and are more likely to put their hands in their mouths.

RISK MITIGATION AND PREVENTION

  • Wash your Hands:
    • With soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Before and after contact.
    • Before you eat, drink or smoke.
    • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if no soap and water available.

CLOTHING CONTROLS & PPE

If you live or work on a farm:

  • Wear dedicated work clothes and boots.
  • Have a separate area to place your work clothes and boots Workers that don’t live on the farm.
  • Keep a set of clean non-work clothes and shoes at work so you can change before returning home.
  • Use work gloves if you are going to have direct contact with an animal or its manure.
  • Wear a mask or face shield if you are performing a job where you could get splashed in the face, such as washing pens.
  • After visiting a farm:
    • Remove shoes before coming into the main part of the house and change clothes once inside.

FOOD SAFETY

  • Keep food and drinks out of animal areas.
  • Eat only after you’ve washed your hands.

Infectious Disease on the Farm

 

 

Find more resources at www.swagcenter.org

Adapted from UMASH’s Infectious Disease on the Farm article.