Understanding Zoonoses, Diseases Transmitted from Animals to Humans

Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. This disease is generally caused by various types of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Zoonoses can be transmitted from wild animals, farm animals, and pets.

Zoonoses can be a problem for public health because of the close relationship between humans and animals, both as a source of food, pets, and supporting human activities.

Zoonotic diseases can cause mild symptoms and can heal by itself. However, not a few can cause serious symptoms and have the potential to cause death.

There are many types of animals that can transmit zoonotic diseases to humans, including:

  • Mosquitoes, for example Aedes aegypti and Anopheles
  • Poultry and birds, including chickens and ducks
  • Insects, such as mites and ticks
  • Wild animals, such as bats, monkeys and mice
  • Farm animals, such as cows and pigs
  • Pets, such as cats and dogs
  • Animals that live in water, such as snails and snails

Various kinds of zoonotic diseases

The following are some types of diseases that are classified as zoonoses:

  • anthrax
  • Worms, such as roundworm (ascariasis) and tapeworm (taeniasis) infections
  • Dengue fever
  • Malaria
  • Elephantiasis or filariasis
  • Chikungunya
  • Pes
  • Bacterial infection Salmonella or typhoid fever (typhoid/typhoid)
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Bird flu
  • Leptospirosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Rabies
  • monkey pox
  • Ebola
  • Dermatophytosis, such as tinea corporis, tinea capitis, or tinea barbae

In addition to the various types of diseases above, there are still many diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. For example, the COVID-19 disease, which is currently becoming a global epidemic or pandemic, is thought to have originated from wild animals, such as bats.

Nipah virus which is predicted to have the potential to become a pandemic is also a type of virus that is zoonotic or can be transmitted through animals.

Ways of Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases from Animals to Humans

Zoonotic transmission from animals to humans can occur in various ways, namely:

Direct contact

Zoonoses can be transmitted to humans when a person comes into contact or direct physical contact with animals or animal body fluids that are infected with the disease. The animal's body fluids can be in the form of saliva, blood, urine, mucus, and feces.

In addition, a person can also get zoonotic diseases when he is bitten or scratched by an animal. Insect bites, such as fleas, mites, and mosquitoes, can also be a medium for transmitting zoonotic diseases.

Indirect contact

Transmission of zoonotic diseases can also occur when someone touches an object that has been contaminated with animal body fluids that contain viruses, germs, or parasites that cause disease. Examples are aquarium tank water, food and drink containers, cages, soil, and pet food.

Consumption of contaminated food

Unpasteurized milk, undercooked meat or eggs, and raw fruit and vegetables contaminated with infected animal feces or urine can also be a medium for disease transmission. Contaminated food can cause disease in both humans and animals, including pets. This dirty food can come from inside the house or from the restaurant.

Dirty water

Zoonotic infectious diseases can also occur when a person drinks or uses water that has been contaminated with feces, blood, or urine from infected animals.

Basically, zoonotic diseases can attack anyone, but they are more common in areas with poor sanitation or in the tropics, where zoonotic disease-causing animals and insects are found. An example is mosquitoes, which are more commonly found in tropical areas with high rainfall, including Indonesia.

In addition, there are some people who are more at risk of infection, including infectious diseases transmitted by animals. This group includes infants and children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems, such as cancer, malnutrition, or people living with HIV.

How to prevent zoonotic transmission

In Indonesia, some zoonotic diseases, such as dengue fever, malaria, leptospirosis, rabies, and elephantiasis, are still classified as endemic diseases.

In addition, people who live and work in livestock areas, rice fields, or fields are also more at risk of contracting zoonotic diseases because they have close contact with animals.

Zoos are also common places for zoonotic disease transmission. While at home, zoonotic diseases usually come from pets that are not well cared for.

To prevent disease transmission from animals to humans, you can take the following steps:

1. Wash your hands

Wash your hands with soap and running water after being near animals, even if you don't touch them. If soap and water are not available, you can use hand sanitizer.

However, hand sanitizer It doesn't kill all types of germs, so it's important to keep washing your hands with soap and clean water.

2. Keeping the house clean

You need to regularly keep your house clean so that dirt and zoonotic animals, such as mosquitoes and mites, don't nest in your house.

To prevent mosquito bites, do 3M plus. Meanwhile, to prevent tick and mite bites, clean the bed and sofa regularly. Change and wash sheets at least once a week.

If you have pets, clean their cages regularly. Don't forget to take your pets to the vet regularly so that they can be checked for health conditions and given vaccinations to prevent dangerous diseases, such as rabies.

3. Choose a safe pet

Find out as much information as possible before adopting or buying a pet. Children under 5 years old, elderly over 65 years old, and people with weak immune systems should limit or avoid contact with rodents, reptiles, amphibians and poultry.

If you keep them, avoid bringing them close to your face, as these animals are at high risk of spreading zoonotic germs, viruses or parasites.

In general, clean and healthy living behavior (PHBS) can be carried out as one of the steps to prevent zoonoses. However, in addition to direct contact with animals, zoonoses can also be transmitted through animals that are consumed.

Therefore, before buying meat, fish or eggs, make sure they come from healthy animals and are raised on clean farms. Don't forget to cook it until it's completely cooked before consumption.

Zoonotic diseases are easily transmitted from animals to humans, but you can protect yourself from these diseases by paying attention to food and environmental hygiene, as well as maintaining personal hygiene and fitness.

If you are in frequent contact with animals and experience symptoms of zoonotic diseases, such as fever, pain, headache, weakness, or diarrhea, immediately consult a doctor for treatment.