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
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
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.
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.