Animals provide many benefits to humans — owning and caring for a pet can help increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to humans. Viewing and safely interacting with animals outside of the home can also provide people of all ages with a chance to see and learn new things about nature.
Unfortunately, animals can also be a source of illness and disease for humans. Zoönotic (zoe-uh-NAH-tik) diseases are infectious diseases that are shared between people and animals. Pets, livestock, and wild animals can carry germs that can spread to people through direct or indirect contact and make people sick. Even if an animal looks healthy, it can still spread germs that can cause disease.
How Zoönotic Diseases Spread