Wildlife Diseases that Affect Humans

Ascarid roundworm
Baylisascaris procyonis, a roundworm infection of raccoons, is increasingly being recognized as a cause of severe human disease. This larval infection can invade and damage body organs, including the brain and eyes. The public should be made aware of the potential risks of exposure to raccoons and raccoon feces.

Cryptococcosis
Cryptococcus neoformans is found in the droppings of wild birds (such as pigeons). When dried bird droppings are stirred up, this can make dust containing Cryptococcus go into the air. People can stir up this dust and then breathe it in when they work, play, or walk in areas where birds have been.

Hantavirus
Although rare, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus.

Histoplasmosis
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. The fungus grows in soil and material contaminated with bat or bird droppings. Spores become airborne when contaminated soil is disturbed. Breathing the spores causes infection.

Leptospirosis
Leptospira organisms have been found in rodents and wild animals. Humans become infected through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from these infected animals. This may happen by swallowing contaminated food or water or through skin contact, especially with mucosal surfaces, such as the eyes or nose, or with broken skin.

Ornithosis
Ornithosis is an infectious respiratory disease caused by Chlamydia psittaci. Pigeons are most commonly associated with the transmission of ornithosis to humans. Human infection can result from brief, passing exposure to infected birds or their contaminated droppings.

Rabies
Contracted from the bite of a rabid animal. It is also possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.

Rat-bite Fever
Rat-bite fever (RBF) is a systemic bacterial illness caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis that can be acquired through the bite or scratch of a rodent or the ingestion of food or water contaminated with rat feces.


Salmonellosis
Salmonellosis is an infection with a bacteria called Salmonella. Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals, including birds. Salmonella are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.

Tularemia
A bacterial disease associated with wildlife, especially rodents, rabbits, and hares. Typically, people become infected through the bite of infected insects (most commonly, ticks and deerflies), by handling infected sick or dead animals, by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by inhaling airborne bacteria.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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