Veterinary Public Health

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Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Healthy Pets Healthy Families - Zoonotic diseases and parasite prevention

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Zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses, are diseases that can be transmitted between people and animals, including wildlife. This means that if an animal is sick, humans can occasionally become infected too. Depending on the disease, there are many ways zoonoses can be shared between animals and people, such as:

  • Contamination from animal's feces or urine

  • Bite of an infected animal

  • Breathing in droplets made when animals cough, sneeze or bark

  • Physical contact

  • Through an biting insect or arthropod (called a vector)

More than half of diseases known to infect human come from animals. The most famous zoonotic disease is rabies, but there are several other ones present in LA County, such as West Nile virus (WNV), leptospirosis, flea- or tick-transmitted infections (flea-borne typhus) and parasites commonly found in dogs and cats (hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, etc.).


Facts about zoonotic diseases and parasites in LA County





  • Flea-borne typhus

    • Flea-borne typhus is expanding in our countypdf icon680

    • It is transmitted by fleas from opossums or cats

    • Animals do not show symptoms, but people do


  • Gastrointestinal diseases

    • Intestinal parasites, such as roundworm, carried by pets can cause serious illness in people, especially children

    • Salmonella is commonly found in reptiles and can cause severe gastrointestinal disease in people


What can people do to protect their families and pets from zoonotic diseases


  • Use proper hygiene habits - Wash hands after touching animals, especially reptiles

  • Keep pets up to date on their vaccines, even if they stay indoors - Dogs and cats can be attracted to dead or dying bats that could carry rabies

  • Talk to a veterinarian about deworming your pets on a regular basis

  • Do not leave food or water outside - It can attract disease-carrying wildlife

  • Protect yourself against mosquitoes - Empty standing water twice weekly, wear long-sleeves, especially at dusk and dawn and use window screens

  • Keep pets are on flea/tick control - If fleas and ticks don't jump on pets, they're less likely jump on people


What the HPHF coalition does to prevent infections with zoonotic diseaes


The HPHF coalition wants every pet and pet owner to be protected against zoonotic diseases and parasites by using proper pet medications.


Pet expos and services. Working with local partners, HPHF organizes or participates in events where community members are able to access low-cost and free pet preventive services such as deworming, flea/tick preventives, spay/neuter, vaccinations and more. Attendees also get connected to local resources for continued care for their pets.


More useful information about disaster preparedness:



Last updated: July 14, 2017

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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