Diseases from Animals & Insects
Zoonotic diseases are those that are spread from animals to people. Many diseases that affect people can come from animals. Zoonotic diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans are diseases of animal origin; approximately 60% of all human pathogens are zoonotic. Some of those diseases are transmitted through the bite of an animal, such as rabies from animals infected with the rabies virus, or diseases spread through the bite of a tick or mosquito. Others are spread through non-bite animal contact or even result from contamination of the environment by animals.
The goal of the Department of Health is to improve the health of Arkansans by reducing the impact of these infectious diseases using a comprehensive approach that includes human, animal, and environmental health. This is called One Health, defined as the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to obtain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.
The Department of Health is able to reduce the impact of infectious diseases shared between people and animals by:
- Investigating disease cases or outbreaks
- Conducting active surveillance for zoonotic diseases (e.g., West Nile virus)
- Providing community-based health education
- Providing consultation on issues where human and animal health interface to local health units, environmental health specialists, animal control agencies, other governmental agencies, healthcare providers, veterinarians, and the general public
- Managing several Arkansas statutes, including:
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