Of all the various species and creatures on earth, animals are the closest to man in intelligence and in terms of relationships. Many humans have animals as their best friends and even family. A whole lot of persons have ventured into the study of animals and the tending of animals as their professions. The relationship gets as deep as eating from the same plate, sleeping on the same bed and even sharing kisses. More recently it has been popularly reported that some humans are making moves towards having a sexual intercourse with animals and even proceeding to get married to animals. Animals have been proven to be the source of most of the deadliest diseases a man can ever contract and these type of diseases are classified as zoonosis or called zoonotic diseases. This article opens our eyes to some of these zoonotic diseases and their animal hosts.
Anthrax – This is mostly found in cattle, sheep, horses, goats, pigs, dog and humans. It can survive in the form of spores for up to fifty years. In animals, it causes staggering, difficulty in breathing, general weakness and even sudden death. In humans, anthrax affects the lungs, skin and intestines, but the symptoms may vary. So, once any abnormal symptom is noticed, it is best to visit a doctor. Humans get infected when they touch or breathing in anthrax spores from infected animals and animal products.
Cat-Scratch Disease – This disease (also cat-scratch fever) is found in cats and affects mostly people younger than 21 who own a cat as a pet. Cats however do not look sick when they carry the disease and they can host the bacteria for months without any crisis or illness. In humans, a lymph node appears on the skin of a person after he or she must have been scratched by a cat. A blister appears only after three to ten days, but the nodes are seen after about two weeks form the scratch. One can also contract this bacterium from other animals through bite, scratch or licking of wounded or bruised skin.
Fowl Pox – As much as it may sound like this is primarily spread by fowls, it is not. It is actually most often spread by mosquitoes. It is caused by an avian pox virus that affect many birds most especially fowls and turkeys. Within four to ten days, nodules begin to appear on the bald parts of birds’ head and leg. It also causes ulcerous lesions in the mouth, nose and throat. It reduces the production of eggs and causes weight loss in animals. It is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects.
Zoonotic diseases can be contracted in many ways including physical closeness to animals, use or intake of water or other materials contaminated by animals or the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products. They can be avoided by avoiding these above means, maintaining a good diet and keeping animals or pets healthy.