Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 11: Healthy and Contented Sheep
Tool 11.18
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Common diseases that can cause serious health problems in humans (zoonoses)


How spread

Common signs in people

Q fever

Inhalation of aerosols and dust, handlingaborted foetuses or foetal fluids

Headache, chills, fever, muscle pain, malaise, coughing, vomiting. Can be prevented by vaccination in people as long as they have no previous exposure


Ingestion of contaminated food or water

Severe diarrhoea, pain, fever, headache, nausea

Scabby mouth

Handling infected material from
mouths/feet of sheep

Papule that heals spontaneously


Faeco-oral route

Acute watery diarrhoea, fever, headache


Faeco-oral route

Acute watery/blood flecked diarrhoea, fever, headache


Food borne disease, especially chilled

Transient mild flu-like to acute meningoenchephalitis with case fatality rate of 30%, foetal infection can lead to abortion


Respiratory, ingestion or local through
break in skin

Respiratory or gastrointestinal forms have very high mortality rates as does local skin infection if left untreated


Dogs infected with hydatid tapeworms,
humans ingest tapeworm eggs from dogs.
People cannot get infected from cysts in sheep

May not be obvious for some time but signs in
people depend on where cysts occur – can be fatal. Prevent by not feeding dogs raw offal
and treating dogs every 6 weeks with tapeworm tablets containing praziquantel