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Diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans

California residents may be surprised to learn that 60 percent of the infectious diseases that affect humans originated in animals. Three quarters of all emerging infectious diseases are also zoonotic. Most people are aware of the dangers of zoonotic conditions such as rabies, but there are a number of other conditions that can be contracted by contact with wild animals or pets.

It may come as a surprise to learn that doctors in Florida have linked nine cases of leprosy in humans to armadillos. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is another potentially deadly but rare condition spread by animals, and humans do not even need to have direct contact with the disease's rodent carriers. Sufferers usually contract the disease after inhaling dust thrown up when rodent droppings are disturbed or placing their fingers in their mouths after touching rodent nesting materials or droppings.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak put the nation on alert, and the condition can be spread by the transfer of bodily fluids after contact with an infected animal. The disease can be carried by bats, apes and monkeys. E. coli can also be transferred from animals such as goats, deer, cows or sheep. The condition can be particularly dangerous when children are infected, and extra caution should be taken at fairs and petting zoos. Leptospirosis is another serious zoonotic disease. When left untreated, the condition can cause liver failure, kidney damage and meningitis. It is transferred by the urine of infected animals such as bats, rodents or cows.

Those who own or control animals have a duty of care to ensure that their charges do not pose a threat to public health or safety, and they may be both fined and face a civil lawsuit when this duty is not met. A personal injury attorney could bring an action against a negligent farmer or pet owner on behalf of a plaintiff who became sick or suffered a serious injury after coming into contact with a diseased or dangerous animal.

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