Home > Agriculture > Harmful Livestock Diseases

Harmful Livestock Diseases

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 24 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Harmful Livestock Diseases

There are dozens of diseases farm livestock can pass to humans. But many such diseases are rare, and some apply only to certain parts of the world. Farm workers can also prevent disease by using Veterinary Medicines and managing livestock responsibly.

Even so, there are diseases in the UK that can place farm workers and the general public at risk.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Cattle are prone to catch bovine TB. This can spread to people who handle cattle and who come into contact with infected nasal mucus. Even someone who has had a BCG injection is at risk.

BSE

BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is a disease that’s fatal to cattle. Unfortunately, it can spread to humans who have eaten, perhaps unknowingly, the spinal cord or brain of infected animals. BSE appears in the human body as vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). There is no evidence in the UK that farm workers can contract vCJD from working with cattle.

Cattle-associated leptospirosis (CAL)

The government believes that at least 60% of UK cattle have CAL. Farm workers can pick up the disease if cattle urine splashes into the nose, mouth or eyes, or enters broken skin. Personal protective clothing and the control of urine in milking parlours can help prevent this.

Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis can be present in younger animals such as calves and lambs. People may contract it when they come into contact with animal dung. Young children and old people are particularly susceptible. The disease causes diarrhoea and stomach pain.

E coli O157

E coli O157 is a bacterium. Cattle, sheep and goats may have it in their guts. This doesn’t create any problems for the animals. Humans, however, can catch the disease from animal dung.

Orf

Orf can lead to ulcers on the arms, hands and face. The disease spreads from cuts and abrasions on infected sheep and goats.

Psittacosis

Poultry are prone to carry psittacosis. It passes to humans when they breathe in poultry dust or come into contact with the nasal mucus from an infected bird.

Ringworm

Horses, sheep, pigs and cattle often get ringworm. This is a fungus that spreads to humans when the spores enter the skin through grazes and cuts. Ulcers then form on the neck, head, arms and hands. The spores can lie around a farm wherever infected animals have passed.

Salmonella

Most farm animals can carry the salmonella bacterium. The most likely way humans get the disease is by eating infected food. But it’s possible to develop salmonella poisoning by touching animal dung.

Streptococcus suis (S suis)

Pigs may carry S suis without giving any sign that they’re infected. The bacterium can pass to humans by entering cuts on the skin or by inhalation. Sensible pig management and veterinary advice can usually control S suis.

General Advice

The government has general advice about keeping harmful livestock diseases at bay. Farm workers should keep their hands and their premises clean. They must always wash their hands before drinking, eating and smoking.

Farm visitors should also ensure they wash their hands even if they haven’t touched any animals. There is more specific advice for certain diseases. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has details.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Sandy
    Re: Can my Employer Fire Me?
    Hi I work on a zero hours contract doing between 22 & 18hrs a week, I've recently asked for reduced hrs due to suffering with…
    17 June 2018
  • Timmy
    Re: Risks at Work
    Has anyone done a risk assessment of "Mobility Scooters" in Workplaces that allow the public in using these?
    17 June 2018
  • Mrl123
    Re: When Your Employer Changes Your Working Hours
    Ive been working for my employer for 3 years now 2 of which permanent contracted, 12 hour shifts our shift…
    16 June 2018
  • Andyjok
    Re: Working At Night
    Hi I work a constant night shift 7.45pm till 6am on Monday and 6pm till 6am Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. Finishing Friday morning until Monday…
    16 June 2018
  • Sportsdirect bullied
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    Why nobody answers back to me? Why people are making differences?please respond, I need your help!
    16 June 2018
  • Pam
    Re: Food Safety and the Law
    Is there any law against chefs wearing shorts in the kitchen when preparing food
    15 June 2018
  • Kerz
    Re: Employment Probation Periods: What You Need to Know
    I just the sack after working at a company for 6 weeks I was really ill with a migraine and was…
    15 June 2018
  • Steve
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    I have been off work due to a mental illness since about the end of April and as I am currently on Statutory Sick Pay I am struggling. The…
    15 June 2018
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Being Pregnant at Work
    Kt19 - Your Question:Hi I’m 23 weeks preganant and a professional dog walker walking up to 6 dogs at a time. I’ve just been told I’ve got…
    15 June 2018
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Guide to Your Rights When Working Alone
    Angel - Your Question:Ive recently been offered a job, working 12 nights.10 hours of which will be alone.I will be…
    15 June 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SafeWorkers website. Please read our Disclaimer.