Animal Exposure and Human Disease

Daniel S. Shapiro,

Zoonoses: Animal Exposure and Human Disease

Globally, there are numerous infectious diseases, normally found in vertebrates other than humans, that have been documented to be transmitted to humans and cause human infections.  These "zoonotic infections" are the topic of this book.

This book is arranged to have chapters by the type of animal. Within each chapter is information on the animal(s), the normal flora of the animal(s), and the diseases that have been transmitted from this group of animals by bites and/or scratches, contact (including transmission via ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks), ingestion of the animal, and other documented transmission, such as infestation by members of the genus Sarcoptes as has been documented in humans exposed to dogs with “mange,” in “cavalryman itch” from horses, from contact with dromedaries, etc.

There are a number of additional issues that takeoff from a fundamental knowledge of zoonotic infections.  These include a working knowledge of many of the agends of bioterrorism, as the events of 2001 demonstrated of the use of Bacillus anthracis spores in mailed letters.  Another area of importance is that of emerging infections. An analysis of 335 origins of emerging infectious diseases between 1940 and 2004 revealed that these are dominated by infections that are zoonotic in origin, comprising some 60.3% of the emerging infections. Of these, 71.8% originated in wildlife.

Given the importance of this topic in our understanding of infectious disease, a timely source is a necessary addition to the current available literature.

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