Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


  • Lisa Lauderdale
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_419-1



Zoonoses (also known as zoonotic diseases) are any naturally transmitted disease or infection between humans and nonhuman animals.


Zoonoses (zoonosis, singular) are infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, or prions that are transmissible between human and nonhuman animals through food, water, air, environment, or direct physical contact. Reverse zoonosis, or anthroponosis, occurs when a human infects an animal. In rare cases, these diseases can reinfect humans from the animal reservoir. For example, swine are susceptible to infection with swine, avian, and human influenza viruses. If a pig is infected with influenza viruses from different species simultaneously, the viruses can mix and create a new virus that can reinfect humans. Diseases such as elephantiasis and African schistosomiasis are sometimes mistakenly thought of as zoonotic, even though they are transmitted via animal vectors, part of their natural...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield ZooBrookfieldUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mystera M. Samuelson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute for Marine Mammal StudiesGulfportUSA