Insects and Animals

Insects and animals can carry disease-causing viruses and bacteria.

People can be exposed to viruses or bacteria through the bite/sting of an insect (e.g. mosquito) or arachnid "vector" (e.g. tick). Mosquitoes and ticks are the primary vectors of concern to residents of Waterloo Region, as they are capable of transmitting West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, respectively.

Animals can also pass disease-causing viruses and bacteria to people. People can get infected with diseases after handling an animal, their feces, urine, or saliva (e.g., from a bite). Bacterial infections can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Rabies is a very serious viral disease which affects the brain and central nervous system. In Waterloo Region, the rabies virus has been documented in domestic and wild animals.

Protective measures

Measures can be taken to minimize risk of getting disease from insects and animals. Protective clothing and use of insect repellent are effective ways to reduce the risk of exposure to vector-borne disease. Avoiding contact with wild animals and ensuring pets are vaccinated minimizes the risk of infection from rabies.