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Center for Public Health Preparedness

Zoonosis, Preparedness, and Public Health

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Zoonoses, diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, are of increasing concern to public health. Of the infectious organisms known to be pathogenic to humans, approximately 60% are zoonotic. Of the recent emerging and re-emerging pathogens, 75% have originated from animals. These include diseases such as SARS, West Nile Virus, Monkeypox and Avian Influenza.

This course uses real-life case studies to illustrate zoonotic disease basics and epidemiology, modes of transmission, factors related to emergence, and the components of public health response (surveillance, investigation, prevention and control).


Local health department personnel and their emergency response partners. Individuals working with animals, such as veterinarians, producers, farmers and shelter staff may also benefit from taking this course.


After completing this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Define a zoonotic disease.
  • Name six zoonotic diseases and describe why each is considered zoonotic.
  • Describe the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases.
  • Identify factors that promote the transmission of zoonotic diseases.
  • Identify factors that contribute to zoonotic disease emergence.
  • Describe the goals of surveillance related to zoonotic diseases.
  • Describe the criteria for reporting a zoonotic disease.
  • Identify the steps in a zoonotic disease outbreak investigation.
  • List measures to prevent and control zoonotic diseases.
  • Identify zoonotic disease response partners and their roles.

Technical Requirements

This course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.


Originally launched January 15, 2008. Updated April 2015.


The estimated time to complete this course is 3 hours.


Free and open to the public.


This course was created by Lindsay Benson, Public Health Education Specialist with the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness and Susan Jewell, Instructional Designer with the University at Albany Professional Development Program. Special thanks to Dr. Millicent Eidson and her colleagues for the detailed review and update of the course.

The speakers have no financial relationships relevant to this course.

There is no commercial support for this course.


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