Updated
May 9th, 2019

8 Zoonotic Diseases are Causing Concern in the USA

60% of infectious diseases in people are illnesses spread between animals and people

girl at a petting zoo, llamas

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners have released the 1st federal collaborative report listing the top zoonotic diseases of national concern for the United States. 

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that can spread between animals and people. 

The CDC, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed on a list of 8 zoonotic diseases that are of greatest concern to the USA. 

Because these diseases can cause sickness or death in people, the CDC is always tracking and reporting them. Every year, tens of thousands of Americans will get sick from harmful germs spread between animals and people. 

Zoonotic diseases are caused by harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. 

Additionally, these agencies made recommendations for next steps using a ‘One Health’ approach

“The CDC’s One Health Office is collaborating with DOI, USDA, and other partners across the government to bring together disease detectives, laboratorians, physicians, and veterinarians to prevent illnesses and protect the health of people, animals, and our environment,” said Casey Barton Behravesh, M.S., D.V.M., Dr.P.H., director, One Health Office, CDC, in a press release. 

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60 percent of infectious diseases in people are zoonotic, which makes it crucial that the nation strengthen its capabilities to prevent and respond to these diseases using a One Health approach. 

One Health is an approach that recognizes the connection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment and calls for experts in human, animal, and environmental health to work together to achieve the best health outcomes for all.

The zoonotic diseases of most concern in the U.S. are:

Because of the close connection between people and animals, it’s important to be aware of the common ways people can get infected with germs that can cause zoonotic diseases.

These can include:

  • Direct contact
  • Indirect contact
  • Vector-borne
  • Foodborne

This innovative report is a new resource for organizations that work on One Health issues and includes recommendations on how to work together to address the prioritized diseases.

The U.S. One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization report is available online.