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Health Risks from Wildlife

Some risks to people from wildlife are obvious, such as bites. Others are harder to see. Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted from animals to humans. These diseases are caused by microscopic spores, parasites, or viruses that are spread through the air, animal feces, or contaminated food and water. We share our knowledge with you, so that you can avoid unnecessary risks related to wildlife problems.

health-risks
Animal Carrier Diseases Carried Description Resources
Bats
Rabies Virus transmitted through bites or handling a diseased bat. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Rabies, Bats, Education
Histoplasmosis Fungal disease contracted through contact with bat guano. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Fungal Diseases, histoplasmosis
Birds
Histoplasmosis Fungal disease contracted through contact with bird droppings. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Fungal Diseases, histoplasmosis
Cryptosporidium A parasite that causes a diarrheal disease. Contracted through contact in recreational water (pools, lakes, rivers) or drinking water. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Cryptosporidium
Salmonellosis Usually known as food poisoning, the bacteria is found in bird droppings and dust from droppings sucked through AC units Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Salmonella
Fox, coyote
Rabies Virus transmitted through bites or handling a diseased fox. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Rabies
Echinococcus multilocularis (fox tapeworm) Parasite shed in feces and transmitted by contact with humans or pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Echinococcosis
Sarcoptic mange A mite carried by fox and coyote that can infect dogs, humans, horses, and cattle. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Scabies
Opposums
Leptospirosis Bacterial disease affecting humans and pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Leptospirosis
Coccidiosis An internal parasite transmitted through feces primarily to dogs, cats, chickens, and cattle. Pet Education
Coccidia (Coccidiosis)
Equine protozoal Myelonencephalitis (EPM) A protozoal parasite transmitted by sporocysts on grass, feed, or water causing neurological damage. American Association of Equine Practitioners
Horse Health
Raccoons
Rabies Virus transmitted through bites or handling a diseased raccoon. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Rabies
Baylisascaris A roundworm parasite transmitted through contact with droppings and airborne eggs Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Baylisascaris
Leptospirosis Bacterial disease affecting humans and pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Leptospirosis
Giardia A parasite that causes diarrheal illness. Most commonly transmitted through water. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Giardia
Equine protozoal Myelonencephalitis (EPM) A protozoal parasite transmitted by sporocysts on grass, feed, or water causing neurological damage. American Association of Equine Practitioners
Horse Health
Rats and mice
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) This virus is transmitted though dust contaminated with rodent urine or droppings or direct contact with infected rodents. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Hantavirus (HPS)
Leptospirosis Bacterial disease affecting humans and pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Leptospirosis
Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM) Virus transmitted through dust or direct contact with contaminated urine and droppings. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)
Salmonellosis Usually known as food poisoning, the bacteria is found in food or water contaminated by rat feces. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Salmonella
Ringtails
Rabies Virus transmitted through bites or handling a diseased animal. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Rabies
Baylisascaris A roundworm parasite transmitted through contact with droppings and airborne eggs Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Baylisascaris
Leptospirosis Bacterial disease affecting humans and pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Leptospirosis
Giardia A parasite that causes diarrheal illness. Most commonly transmitted through water. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Giardia
Skunks
Rabies Virus transmitted through bites or handling a diseased skunk. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Rabies
Baylisascaris A roundworm parasite transmitted through contact with droppings and airborne eggs Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Parasites, Baylisascaris
Leptospirosis Bacterial disease affecting humans and pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Leptospirosis
Distemper Contagious virus transmitted through airborne exposure and contact with wild animals. American Veterinary Medical Association
Canine Distemper
Squirrels
Ticks and fleas These can infect people and pets, as well as carry diseases such as Lyme disease and plague.
Leptospirosis Bacterial disease affecting humans and pets. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Leptospirosis
Salmonellosis Usually known as food poisoning, the bacteria is found in food or water contaminated by squirrel feces. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Salmonella