Zoonotic diseases are those infectious diseases that can be passed on from some species of animal to human beings. The case where humans pass the disease on to an animal is known as reverse zoonosis. Many different animals, both wild animals and domestic animals, can pass on diseases to human beings including flies, sheep, and rodents, for example. In the case of rabbits they can pass on a variety of diseases to human beings including tularaemia, cheyletiella, pasteurellosis, and even Black Death and rabies, for example.
The underlying cause of a zoonotic disease can be any form of small entity that has a pathogenic affect on a human being. This could be a bacterium or a virus, for example. But there are also plenty of zoonotic diseases that are caused by fungi, protozoa, blood-sucking insect parasites, pria, and so on. Tularaemia is caused by the Francisella tularensis bacterium, for example. Cheyletiella, meanwhile, is an infestation by mites.
The zoonotic diseases are particularly worrying because they pose new problems for medical science. The increasing proximity and interactions that human beings engage in with animals means that more and more diseases are being passed across the species boundaries. The new field known as conservation medicine, involving aspects of veterinary and environmental science, is aimed at tackling these zoonotic diseases, including those passed on by rabbits.
One such example is that of Tularaemia. This is a bacterial disease that can be passed on from rabbits to humans and is also known as rabbit fever. It can be transmitted by contact with, even unbroken, human skin. It is thought that eating infected rabbit meat can transmit the disease, for example. In the person it can result in fever and nausea and headache. It can also cause a variety of other problems such as lesions and delirium. In the worst cases it can even lead to death if it appears in its pulmonary or typhoid form.
Another example of a zoonotic disease transmitted by rabbits is pasteurellosis. This is a disease that is carried by many different animals such as birds and pigs, for example. The causative agent is the Pasteurella multocida bacterium. This bacterium infects the upper respiratory tract and oral cavity of the animal. It can be transmitted to a human being through a bite or a scratch. This can lead to inflammation around the wound which may lead to an abscess. There are many more rabbit zoonotic diseases and this list will be added to in the near future.