THE MERCK VETERINARY MANUAL
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Chapters

Zoonotic Diseases

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The table in this chapter lists zoonotic bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic diseases, grouped by category. Many proven zoonoses, including some diseases that are rare in humans, organisms that are maintained primarily in humans, some primate diseases, and diseases caused by fish and reptile toxins have been omitted. The table is intended to give a general clinical picture of each disease; current medical texts or review articles should be consulted for a more complete description. Clinical signs are listed; asymptomatic infections can also be assumed to occur in most cases. An indication of the mortality rate among healthy individuals has been provided for many infections. However, there is almost always a chance of death whenever lesions can become generalized, vital organs may be affected, secondary infections occur, and/or the patient is immunosuppressed. The mortality rate is often influenced by the availability of medical care, and it is generally lower where advanced medical support is available. The risk of death from some Bacterial Diseases with high mortality rates can be nearly eliminated with prompt antibiotic treatment.

If a disease is known to have unusual manifestations or to be particularly common and/or severe in immunocompromised persons, this has been noted. In addition to these diseases, many pathogens can cause more severe disease and/or unusual signs in immunocompromised patients. Information on the geographic range of an organism should be taken as a rough guide. The precise ranges of many pathogens have not been completely determined. Organisms may also expand their range or be eradicated from areas where they were once abundant.

Table 1

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Last full review/revision March 2012 by James A. Roth, DVM, PhD, DACVM; Anna Rovid Spickler, DVM, PhD

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