Protect yourself from zoonoses this wet season

Region: Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia | Topic: Livestock, Biosecurity
Feb 2022

Zoonoses are infections that can spread from animals to humans. Some diseases present in the Northern Territory include leptospirosis, Q fever and melioidosis.

Who is at risk?

People who work with animals are at higher risk of infection. Zoonoses are a health concern that all pastoralists should be aware of. One such example is melioidosis abscesses (figure 1).

Wet season conditions can increase the risk of transmission of many zoonoses, particularly for those working with livestock and in muddy yards or floodwaters.

During the wet season in early 2021, 14 people across the Top End contracted leptospirosis. Most of these people worked with cattle.

Pig lung with abscesses

Figure 1: Melioidosis abscesses in the lung of a pig.

Reduce your risk

Steps you can take to reduce your zoonoses risk include:

  • cover wounds
  • get vaccinated (including for Q fever and tetanus) and get your animals vaccinated as recommended
  • use protective gear (including waterproof footwear and eye protection)
  • keep your livestock healthy
  • wash your hands regularly, including when dirty, after working with livestock and before consuming food or drink
  • contact your doctor if you are unwell.

More information

For more information about zoonoses and how it can affect humans, go to the Northern Territory Government website.

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