Scientific name: Leptospiras spp.
-Direct contact with infected animal.
-Indirect via urine infected soil, water, or food.
-Through intact skin, mouth, or nostrils.
Host animals: Rodents, mustalids, and marine mammals.
Incubation period: Two to 14 days.
-Icteric type (Well's disease): includes fever, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, skin hemorrhages, and jaundice.
-Anicteric type: similar to icteric type but less severe symptoms.
Treatment: Penicillin, tetracyclines, or dihydrostreptomycin.
Recovery time: Icteric, one-two months; Anicteric, one month.
-Good personal hygiene.
-Proper waste disposal.
-Rodent proofing food supplies and buildings.
-Vaccine is available but seldom prescribed.
Scientific name: Borrelia spp.
Transmission: Bite of nymph-stage tick.
Host animals: All, including domestics.
Incubation period: One or more weeks. (Exception is a visual ring-shaped lesion or "bull's-eye" which appears at site of bite within 48 hours in approximately 30% of exposures.
-Fever with chills, sweating, headaches, vertigo, fatigue, and diminished concentration.
-Chronic, reoccurring arthritis.
-Neurologic or cardiac problems.
Treatment: Megadoses of prescribed antibiotics, orally or intravenous.
Prognosis: Good with early intervention; Chronic symptoms possible with delayed treatment.
-Lyme vaccine protection.
-Tick control in animals as well as in the environment.
-Avoid bite wounds and saliva of tick infested animals.
-Personal tick inspections.
-Immediate medical consultation if exposed.
CHLAMYDIOSIS (psittacosis or ornithosis):
Scientific name: Chlamydia psittaci.
Transmission: Inhalation of aerosolized feces.
Host animals: Over 100 avian species including pigeons, raptors, and finches.
Incubation period: Four to 15 days.
Clinical symptoms: Flu-like symptoms which can develop into bronchopneumonia. May be severe in persons over 50.
Prognosis: Good; very low mortality rate.
Prevention: Control of avian fecal matter.
SALMONELLOSIS (A common, worldwide
Scientific name: Salmonella spp.
-Fecal contaminated food and water.
Host animals: Common in opossums but can be found in all vertebrates.
Incubation period: Six to 48 hours.
Clinical symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and low-grade fever.
Treatment: Supportive care, bed rest, and electrolytic fluids. Antibiotics are contraindicated unless salmonella group is identified.
Prognosis: Recovery in two-four days.
Prevention: Personal hygiene to prevent fecal-oral exposure.
TETANUS (Lockjaw) (Not zoonotic
but worthy of mention):
Scientific name: Clostridium tetani
Transmission: Puncture wound
-Skin punctures by claws or teeth
-Skin punctures with rusty wire or nails.
Incubation period: Up to one week.
-Stiffness of the jaw (lockjaw), the esophageal muscles, and muscles of the neck. Facial muscles contract, and hysteria is produced.
-Descending trauma develops in the back and extremities.
-Intensive care hospitalization.
-Tetanus immune globulin injection.
-Intense medication regiment.
Prognosis: Depends on severity but usually fatal.
Prevention: Tetanus vaccine protection. A booster shot if inflicted with a bite or other puncture wound.
HISTOPLASMOSIS (Not zoonotic but
worthy of mention):
Scientific name: Histoplasma capsulatum.
Transmission: Inhalation of spores.
Host animals: Indirectly through avian feces.
Incubation period: Undetermined
Clinical symptoms: Mild, self-limited respiratory infection. If severe: fever, anemia, enlargement of spleen and liver, leukopenia, pulmonary distress, adrenal necrosis, and ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Treatment: Intravenous medication.
Prognosis: Good except occasionally in debilitated elderly or pulmonary patients.
Prevention: Routine disposal of bird droppings in roost areas. (Histoplasmosis occurs naturally in the soil. Long term accumulation of avian feces can enrich the soil to favor development of the airborne spores.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Eggs may remain viable in the environment for a year or more. They have a high resistance to decontamination procedures due to dense cell walls and sticky surface. The only sure methods of elimination, once established, is by autoclave, torching with propane, gasoline, or fuel oil, or boiling in lye or LYSOLâ . Small children are most at risk and should be discourage from playing with firewood when brought indoors if fecal deposits have been found on woodpile. Handling firewood with latex gloves should be a strong consideration.
Scientific name: Cryptosporidia spp.
Transmission: Fecal-oral route.
Host animals: Most vertebrates.
Incubation period: Five to 21 days
Clinical symptoms: Nausea, mild fever, abdominal pain, body aches, chills, sweating, watery diarrhea.
Treatment: Supportive care including ample intake of hydration fluids. No microbial drugs against the parasite has been proven safe and effective.
-If otherwise healthy: recovery by 9-14 days.
-Reduce normal activity for an interval following clinical recovery.
-Immunosuppressed: Diarrhea may be prolonged for up to two years withwasting as well as above symptoms.
Prevention: -Personal hygiene (fecal-oral contamination).