An illness that can be spread between animals and humans is a zoonosis. Rabies is one example of a zoonosis that's transmitted when a rabid animal bites a person.

Some kinds of zoonoses can be directly transferred from animal to human, while others go through a third animal that acts as a carrier but shows no symptoms. If a human transmits a disease to an animal, it's known as "reverse zoonosis." The list of zoonoses includes cat scratch disease, anthrax, avian flu, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The word comes from the Greek roots zōon, "animal," and nosos, "disease."

Definitions of zoonosis
  1. noun
    an animal disease that can be transmitted to humans
    synonyms: zoonotic disease
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    disease of cattle that can be transmitted to humans; results from infection with actinomycetes; characterized by hard swellings that exude pus through long sinuses
    anthrax, splenic fever
    a highly infectious animal disease (especially cattle and sheep); it can be transmitted to people
    Bang's disease, brucellosis, contagious abortion
    an infectious disease of domestic animals often resulting in spontaneous abortion; transmittable to human beings
    a destructive and contagious bacterial disease of horses that can be transmitted to humans
    Lyme arthritis, Lyme disease
    an acute inflammatory disease characterized by a rash with joint swelling and fever; caused by bacteria carried by the bite of a deer tick
    hydrophobia, lyssa, madness, rabies
    an acute viral disease of the nervous system of warm-blooded animals (usually transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal); rabies is fatal if the virus reaches the brain
    leptospirosis, swamp fever
    an infectious disease cause by leptospira and transmitted to humans from domestic animals; characterized by jaundice and fever
    deer fly fever, rabbit fever, tularaemia, tularemia, yatobyo
    a highly infectious disease of rodents (especially rabbits and squirrels) and sometimes transmitted to humans by ticks or flies or by handling infected animals
    cervicofacial actinomycosis, lumpy jaw
    the commonest and least severe form of actinomycosis; affects the face and neck regions
    thoracic actinomycosis
    a serious form of actinomycosis that affects the chest
    abdominal actinomycosis
    a serious form of actinomycosis that affects the abdomen
    canicola fever
    an acute feverish disease in people and in dogs marked by gastroenteritis and mild jaundice
    Weil's disease
    a severe form of leptospirosis in human beings
    type of:
    animal disease
    a disease that typically does not affect human beings
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