The mission of the Zoonotic Disease Program (ZDP) is to prevent and control diseases transmissible from animals (including mosquitoes and other vectors) to humans. ZDP staff work with our local health department partners and other agencies and organizations throughout the state to conduct surveillance of animal reservoirs and disease vectors, investigate zoonotic diseases and conditions in humans, carry out disease interventions and educational initiatives and provide consultations to animal and human health professionals.
Ohio Vectorborne Disease Surveillance Update
Update on vectorborne diseases in Ohio including current data on vector, human and veterinary surveillance for mosquito-borne and tickborne diseases.
Lyme disease is caused by an infection with a bacterium, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick in Ohio. Lyme disease cases are increasing in Ohio as the range of blacklegged tick populations continue to expand in the state.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal or, less commonly, when saliva from an infected animal gets into an open wound or onto a mucous membrane. The Zoonotic Disease Program conducts rabies prevention activities to protect Ohio residents from the spread of wildlife rabies to people, pets and other animals.
Diseases spread by ticks are an increasing concern in Ohio and are being reported to the Ohio Department of Health more frequently in the past decade, with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) being the most common. Other tickborne diseases such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis are also on the rise.
Zoonotic diseases (also called zoonoses) are infectious diseases that can be spread from animals to humans. These diseases may or may not produce clinical illness in the animal.
Zoonotic diseases include:
Those that 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 that have been contaminated with animal waste or a dead animal (e.g., anthrax, leptospirosis)
Vectorborne diseases that require a mosquito, tick or other arthropod to transmit disease from animals to humans (e.g., Rocky Mountain spotted fever, St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus)
Animals that can carry and spread diseases to people:
To protect Ohioans and their domestic animals from a new strain of rabies in wild raccoons, ODH and other state and local agencies partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to immunize wild raccoons for rabies using an oral rabies vaccine.