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Understanding Zoonotic Diseases: How Humans Get Sick from Nonhuman Animals

From Vicky Bond,
May 2024

It is estimated that six out of ten known infectious diseases that have been reported globally have spread between animals and humans, according to the World Health Organization—and zoonoses are only becoming more frequent.

[This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.]

grazing Cow
Photo by Mihail Macri, Unsplash

Human and animal health are closely linked, with many diseases shared between them. As our world becomes more developed and interconnected, the proximity between wild animals and humans is shrinking, increasing the risk of disease transmission. At the same time, humans are growing increasingly dependent on animals as a source of food.

The emergence of new diseases is an unfortunate byproduct of these trends. According to the World Health Organization, most of the newly discovered diseases in humans—about 75 percent—have originated in animals in the last three decades. Scientists call these kinds of diseases “zoonotic.”

As humans navigate the growing risk of zoonotic diseases, it is essential to understand how reversing our dependence on meat, dairy, and other animal products can help have a positive impact on our health and that of the planet, while ensuring a better life for the animals.


Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE, including:

  • What Is a Zoonotic Disease?
  • What Causes Zoonoses?
  • How Do Zoonotic Diseases Spread Between Animals and People?
  • How Are Zoonoses Classified?
  • Zoonotic Disease Examples
  • Who Is at Risk of Zoonotic Diseases?
  • What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Zoonotic Diseases?
  • Preventing Zoonotic Disease Globally
  • Ending Intensive Animal Agriculture

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Posted on June 21, 2024 Health Position and Disclaimer

We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.