Diseases transmitted by Animals

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zoonotic diseases

What are Vectors?

Vectors are living organisms that can transmit pathogens from one host to another. They act as intermediaries in the transmission of infectious diseases, transporting the pathogen from an infected individual (the reservoir) to a susceptible individual (the new host). Vectors can be arthropods, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, or other animals, such as rodents.
Vector-borne diseases are commonly associated with insect or arthropod vectors that act as carriers for pathogens. For example, mosquitoes can transmit diseases like malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, and West Nile virus, while ticks are responsible for spreading Lyme disease.

Zoonotic Diseases and Reservoirs and Carriers

Diseases which can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice-versa are called zoonotic diseases.
Reservoirs and Carriers: Animals that carry zoonotic diseases without necessarily transmitting them to other hosts are considered reservoirs or carriers. These animals may host the infectious agents in their bodies and can serve as a source of infection for humans and other animals. However, they do not play an active role in transmitting the disease from one individual to another. For example, rodents can be reservoirs for hantaviruses, and birds can be reservoirs for avian influenza.

The table below gives the names of vectors/reservoirs and associated diseases

Animal/Bird/Insect Disease
Tsetse flySleeping Sickness
Sand flyKala Azar
Anopheles mosquitoMalaria
Aedes MosquitoDengue, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya
Culex MosquitoWest Nile Fever
RodentsBubonic Plague
RodentsHantavirus Syndromes
Dogs, Bats, RaccoonsRabies
Animals in generalAnthrax
Rabbits, Hares & RodentsTularemia
PoultryAvian Influenza or Bird Flu
Pigs (through Culex mosquitoes)Japanese Encephalitis
TicksCrimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever, Lyme
Fruit batsNipah virus infection


Select the right answer

1. Which of the following diseases is transmitted through rodents?

2. Which of the following causes sleeping sickness?

3. Dengue and chikungunya are mainly transmitted through the bites of which mosquitoes?

4. Which animals are associated with the transmission of Japanese Encephalitis?

5. Which of the following animals is associated with the spread of tularemia?

6. Which of the following is the cause of the disease kala azar?