8 Zoonotic Diseases Shared Between Animals and People of Most Concern in the U.S.

May 7, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its U.S. government partners have released the first 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) developed the report after jointly hosting a One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization Workshop for the United States. During the workshop, agencies agreed on a list of eight zoonotic diseases that are of greatest concern to the nation and made recommendations for next steps using a One Health approach.

“Every year, tens of thousands of Americans get sick from diseases spread between animals and people. 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 those 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.

The zoonotic diseases of most concern in the U.S. are:
•    Zoonotic influenza
•    Salmonellosis
•    West Nile virus
•    Plague
•    Emerging coronaviruses (e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome)
•    Rabies
•    Brucellosis
•    Lyme disease
Six out of every 10 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.

This workshop was the first time multiple government agencies in the United States worked together on this topic and is a critical step towards a coordinated U.S.-specific approach to One Health. The workshop report outlines the process, the resulting list of prioritized zoonotic diseases, and discussions and recommendations by the participants.

The U.S. One Health Zoonotic Disease Prioritization report is available online: https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/domestic-activities/us-ohzdp.html 

Source: CDC