SARS and bird flu aren’t the only diseases that humans can catch from animals. Between 2,000 and 2,005, around 50 million people caught diseases from animals such as dogs, cattle, chickens and mosquitoes, and almost 80,000 of them died. Sometimes animals pass diseases between species. And it works both ways: some HUMAN diseases are killing animals.

Jeanna Bryner writes in that diseases that humans catch from animals are called zoonotic illnesses. Netherlands researcher Jonathan Heeney says that zoonotic illnesses seem to be increasing, and there are no vaccines for most of them. Heeney thinks that doctors and veterinarians need to work together to solve this problem.

Sometimes humans make animals sick. A deadly parasite which causes food poisoning in humans, which is rarely deadly, has led to lethal brain damage in California sea otters.

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