What are Zoonotic diseases?

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that are transmitted between humans and animals or pests. They can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. These germs can cause many different types of illnesses in people, ranging from mild to serious illness and even death. Summit County Public Health conducts inspections, surveillance, control efforts, and community outreach to help prevent these illnesses in our community.

How do germs spread between animals and people?

The CDC identifies common ways people can get infected with germs that cause zoonotic disease:

  • Direct contact: Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal. Examples include petting or touching animals, and bites or scratches.
  • Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with germs.
  • Vector-borne: Being bitten by a tick, or an insect like a mosquito or a flea.
  • Foodborne: Eating or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal.
  • Waterborne: Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal.

summit county public health can help

The trained professionals at Summit County Public Health can help you protect yourself and your loved ones. If you need guidance on animal encounters, identifying pests and removing them from your home, or have questions about diseases that are spread through animals and insects, a SCPH Environmental Health Specialist is here to help. 

Browse the menu above or call 330-926-5600 for more information.

Ohio Department of Health webiste for Zoonotic Diseases



page updated 02/26/2024