Common Diseases from Animals/Insects

Program Background


A zoonotic disease is a disease which can be transmitted from animals to humans. The disease may or may not produce clinical illness in the animal. The Health Department helps to prevent the transmission of diseases from animals to humans.  This page includes information about animal bites, rabies, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.

Zoonotic diseases include:

  Those which can be transmitted directly from animals
to humans (e.g. rabies)
  Diseases that can be acquired indirectly by humans through ingestion, inhalation or contact with infected animal products, soil, water, or other environmental surfaces which have been contaminated with animal waste or a dead animal (e.g. leptospirosis, anthrax)
  Vector-borne diseases which require a mosquito or other arthropod to transmit the disease from animals to humans (e.g. St. Louis encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile virus)



  Rabies information from CDC
  Rabies information from the Ohio Department of Health



The common bedbug is a wingless, red-brown insect, about the size of an apple seed as an adult.  Bedbugs emerge at night to feed on human blood.  They do not carry any known diseases. While some people hardly know they are bitten, others develop painful swellings similar to flea or mosquito bites that may itch for up to 2 weeks. Bedbugs are increasingly common today.  We work with individuals and organizations to help them get rid of bedbug problems. Most often a professional pest control specialist is needed to solve the problem.

  Ohio Department of Health
  Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force
  Bed Bug information – University of Kentucky
  Stop Bed Bugs Safely – NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus has now established itself in Ohio after first being detected here in 2001.  West Nile Virus activity has been documented in all 88 counties of Ohio.  The virus has been migrating east since first discovered in New York City during 1999.  The virus has been found in birds, mosquitoes, horses and humans from Canada to Florida and as far west as California.  More information can be found below and at:

  West Nile Virus information from CDC 
  West Nile Virus from the Ohio Department of Health


Because West Nile Virus can lead to serious illness, it is best to protect yourself from mosquito bites.  Below is a list of protective measures and ways to reduce mosquito breeding.

Signs and symptoms of a mosquito borne infection are slight fever, body aches, headache, and sometimes skin rash or swollen lymph glands.  A very small number of people will suffer from a severe infection that is marked by rapid onset of high fever, a severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea or vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness or paralysis, seizures, coma and rarely death.  Persons over 50 years old are more vulnerable to West Nile Virus.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

  Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts or jackets, and long slacks
  Avoid mosquito-infested areas or stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active, during the early morning and evening hours
  Put 16 mesh screens on all doors and windows and keep them in good repair
  Consider the use of mosquito repellant. Sprays and lotions are the most commonly available.  Use repellants sparingly and in the weakest concentration that does the job, especially on children.  Read and follow all label directions on whatever product you choose


Reduce Mosquito Breeding

Standing water is an ideal mosquito breeding ground.  Mosquitoes will develop in any puddle that lasts for more than four days.

  Watch for shady areas where water collects – old tires, plastic containers, clogged roof gutters, swimming pool or hot tub covers, under swing sets, tarps covering cars or boats
  Empty birdbaths and fill with fresh water at least once a week
  Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use
  Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish
  Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used


Lyme Disease and other diseases from Ticks

  Lyme Disease information from CDC
  More Information about diseases spread by insects from the Ohio Department of Health