Diseases Transmitted from Wildlife to People

Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted between humans and animals, both wild and domestic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 75 percent of recently emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are diseases of animal origin and approximately 60 percent of all human pathogens are zoonotic.

Contact between humans, livestock, domestic pets and wildlife are bound to occur, which increases the likelihood of disease transmission. However, it is often hard to determine patterns of human-animal interactions, which makes tracking the spread of disease difficult. Having access to science-based information about these diseases can help people better assess their potential risk and take precautions.

Keep in mind that not all wild animals are carriers of disease. It is safe to enjoy outdoor activities. However, as a safety precaution, it is important to avoid direct contact with wildlife. Untrained people should not handle wildlife.

Avoiding Disease

There are several simple steps you can take to avoid becoming infected.

For More Information

Cleaning Up After Rodents

Cleanup of Bat and Bird Droppings

Exclusion of Bats

USGS National Wildlife Health Center