We talk a lot about resident health and the things caregivers can do to keep sanctuary residents happy and healthy. However, it’s not just about preventing disease introduction and spread between residents – sanctuaries also have a responsibility to think about the potential for disease transmission between humans and non-human animals. As such, it’s important that animal caregivers and animal sanctuary leadership have at least a basic understanding of the topic of Any disease or illness that can be spread between nonhuman animals and humans. and how zoonotic diseases spread so as to protect the human and non-human animals who come into contact with each other in sanctuary spaces or during sanctuary operations. In addition to ensuring the well-being of all, for animal organizations, prevention of Any disease or illness that can be spread between nonhuman animals and humans. transmission is also important from a liability standpoint.
We hope that this set of flyers may be helpful in terms of sharing the basics with your staff, volunteers and visitors. These three flyers can be posted in various areas of your animal sanctuary to serve as reminders of some of the measures you should take to protect your entire sanctuary community. For more information on zoonosis, you can go the the full resource here!
Zoonosis Flyers by Tara Hess and Julia Magnus
The first explanation has an image of an alarmed While "cow" can be defined to refer exclusively to female cattle, at The Open Sanctuary Project we refer to domesticated cattle of all ages and sexes as "cows." next to it, and reads “Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases that can be naturally transmitted between humans and other animals.”
The second explanation has an image of different stylized pathogens next to it and reads “Zoonotic diseases can be caused by different types of infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, or prions.”
The third explanation has an image of a hand reaching out to an angry Unless explicitly mentioned, we are referring to domesticated goose breeds, not wild geese, who may have unique needs not covered by this resource., and reads “It goes both ways: humans can also transmit certain diseases to non-humans.”
The fourth explanation has an image of a human holding a shield against pathogens, and reads “Anyone can be affected by zoonotic diseases, but it’s important to take special precautions for folks who are particularly at risk!”
The fifth explanation has an image of a doctor with a chart, and a medicine bottle, and reads “Zoonotic disease can range from minor to severe, or potentially life-threatening.”
The sixth explanation has an image of two stylized pathogens touching, and reads “Means of transmission include direct contact, aerosol, oral, fomite, or vector-born.”
The second flyer has a heading that reads “The Means Of Transmission Of Zoonotic Disease.” It lists five different means of transmission.
The first is “Direct Contact.” There is an image of a Someone who provides daily care, specifically for animal residents at an animal sanctuary, shelter, or rescue. looking at a cow with a bandage. The explanation reads “A pathogen makes direct contact with open wounds, mucous membranes, or the skin.”
The second is “Aerosol.” There is an image of an alarmed goat with a speech bubble, reading “Achoo!” The explanation reads, “A human breathes in pathogens suspended in the air, possibly from a resident sneezing or coughing.”
The third is “Oral.” There is an image of a human eating an apple while sharing another with a sheep. The explanation reads “Pathogens are ingested, potentially when contaminated food or water is consumed, or from eating without washing hands.”
The fourth is “Fomite.” There is an image of a human shoveling a muddy area near a pig. The explanation reads “A human comes into contact with a pathogen via a contaminated inanimate object (a fomite) like a glove or tool.”
The fifth is “Vector-Borne.” There is an image of an open and overflowing bag of food with flies surrounding it and a mouse sitting nearby. The explanation reads “Pathogens are introduced by a living organism, such as ticks, mosquitos, flies or rodents.”
The third flyer is titled “Action Steps For Reducing The Spread Of Zoonotic Disease” and the header also has an image of handwashing, and a mask. It has a list of six steps you can take.
The first step is “FOCUS ON RESIDENT HEALTH. Keep resident spaces and grounds clean, and monitor resident health carefully! Get veteriniary care at any sign of concern promptly, and make sure to do daily observation!”
The second step is “PROTECT GUESTS, STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS. Provide hand washing spaces, guided tours, and do not allow food or drink in living spaces! Keep human food separate from resident food, and protect from rodents!”
The third step is “MAINTAIN CAREFUL COMMUNICATION. Keep sanctuary personnel informed about the happenings on the sanctuary and about the health of the residents and relay new information quickly and completely!”
The fourth step is “OFFER ROBUST TRAINING TO STAFF. Train staff in how zoonosis works, and how to mitigate risk. Ensure they know where PPE is, and how to properly use itl Include this training in all daily activities!”
The fifth step is “HAVE A SYSTEM FOR SHARPS AND HAZMAT DISPOSAL. Follow all relevant laws pertaining to sharps disposal as well as hazardous waste and make sure that personnel are trained in proper procedures!”
The sixth step is “RESTRICT ACCESS TO HIGH RISK AREAS. If you suspect or have confirmed zoonotic disease, keep guests, less experienced staff, interns, volunteers and members of high risk groups out of these areas!”