Zoonotic Diseases & Pregnancy

Zoonotic diseases can pose additional risks to those who are pregnant.  View the entries below to see which animals are common carriers of the disease, symptoms of the disease, prevention measures, and the pregnancy risks.

Coxiella burnetti (Q fever)

Animal Carriers: Sheep, goats, cattle

Symptoms: Fever, chills, retrobulbar (behind the eye) headache, weakness, malaise, profuse sweating

Prevention: Appropriate use and disposal of protective clothing.Use of disinfectants for cleaning. Avoid pregnant sheep.

Pregnancy Risk: Risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term delivery, or low infant birth weight

Additional Information:

Center for Disease Control Q Fever page

UW – Q-fever on the farm guidance document

Listeria monocytogenes (Listeriosis)

Animal Carriers: Livestock

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, influenza-like symptoms

Prevention: Avoid cleaning livestock manure. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact.

Pregnancy Risk: Miscarriages, Still birth, and preterm labor

Additional Information: Center for Disease Control Listeria page

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV)

Animal Carriers: House mice, hamsters, guinea pigs

Symptoms: Fever, headache, neck stiffness, fatigue, lack of appetite, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting

Prevention: Avoid cleaning cages. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact. Keep rodents away from face. Avoid contact with wild rodents.

Pregnancy Risk: Can cause severe birth defects or loss of pregnancy

Additional Information: Center for Disease Control LCMV page

Salmonellosis

Animal Carriers: Reptiles, amphibians, birds, and poultry

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, fever, chills, muscle aches

Prevention: Avoid contact with reptiles and amphibians. Clean surfaces that have been touched by reptiles. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact.

Pregnancy Risk: Can cause loss of pregnancy.

Additional Information:

Center for Disease Control Salmonella page.

 Center for Disease Control Salmonella and Reptiles page.

Toxoplasmosis

Animal carriers: Cats

Symptoms:  Muscle aches, headaches, swollen glands, flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, fatigue)

Prevention: Do not clean out litter boxes. Avoid interacting stray cats. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after animal or waste contact

Pregnancy Risk:  Can cause birth defects or loss of pregnancy. May not have any symptoms but has 1 in 2 chance of passing the illness to her baby

Additional information: Center for Disease Control Toxoplasmosis page

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and are concerned with working animals in research, please contact Occupational Medicine for a consultation about the risks and mitigation options.

CONTACT

Carrie Ensrud
Animal Research Safety Manager
carrie.ensrud@wisc.edu
Phone: 608-445-4516