What Diseases Are Spread Through Horse-To-Human Contact?

Though direct horse-to-human transmission of disease is rare, there are some bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic disease that can be spread to horses to humans, Canadian Horse Journal reports.

  • Dermatophilosis (Rain Rot)
    Commonly called rain rot or mud fever, this condition generally occurs in horses that are exposed to long periods of rain or moisture. The bacteria enters small cuts on the horse’s body and forms painful lesions that form dry crusts. The bacteria can be transmitted to humans, and presents the same way. It generally occurs on the hands and arms.
  • Ringworm
    Ringworm is caused by a fungus that infects the skin or hair. The bacteria lives in soil and can be transmitted to horses while rolling; it is spread between horses through contaminated objects like grooming tools and saddlepads. The affected horse will have dry, crusty skin with circular, itchy lesions. The condition can be spread to humans through direct contact and through contaminated objects; humans also get a red, scaly, circular rash.
  • Salmonellosis
    Caused by Salmonella enterica bacteria, salmonella causes diarrhea in both humans and horses. Horses get salmonella through contaminated feed or water, as well as through direct contact with an infected horse or by touching a surface that has been contaminated by the manure of an infected horse. Some horses can carry the bacteria and show no signs. People can get salmonella by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their mouths. The disease can be fatal to horses and humans if not treated appropriately.

Click here to read more diseases and conditions that can be spread between horses and humans.

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