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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

List of Zoonoses

By Stephen C. Waring, DVM, PhD, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Environmental Science;Associate Director of Research, Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center;School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center
Donald Armstrong, MD, Emeritus Chief;Professor of Medicine, Infectious Disease Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center;Cornell University Medical College
James H. Steele, DVM, MPH, Professor Emeritus, Center for Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health, University of Texas

The (zoonoses) table in the Merck Veterinary Manual lists the most important zoonoses that have been documented. Many of these are quite rare and only occur in certain areas of the world, or under certain conditions. The table is divided into categories, based on the type of organism that causes disease (for example, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and so on).

It is also important to note that, in the majority of zoonoses, infection is due to contact with a wild animal or an insect rather than a pet. For instance, where rodents are listed in the table, it is most commonly a wild rodent that is the source of disease, not one that has been bred and kept in captivity.

Many proven zoonoses, including some relatively rare viral infections carried by insects and infections caused by parasitic worms, have been omitted, as well as those diseases caused by fish and reptile toxins.