Wildlife Diseases and Public Health

This jackrabbit is not healthy, and may be a health risk. Unkempt fur, and infested with ticks, it may spread ticks to areas with livestock, pets, and people. Ticks can spread Lyme Disease and other serious illnesses.

Many serious diseases, called zoonoses, can be spread from wildlife to humans. Some diseases have devastating consequences.  Learning about the potential for disease transmission is very important, not only if you are having a problem with wayward wildlife on your property, but if you and your family enjoy spending time outdoors.


Lyme Disease in San Bernardino County


Viral and Bacterial Diseases

CDC: Rabies

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome


Leptospirosis-Dogs (Vaccinate to Keep Your Dogs Healthy)

Rat Bite Fever


Plague Found in Ground Squirrels-San Diego

Campground Closed After Ground Squirrel Tests Positive for Plague-Los Angeles County

Plague Detected in Lake Tahoe Area

CDC: Reported Cases of Human Plague in the United States 1970-2012

CDC Facts About Plague

Plague Ecology in the United States

Bubonic Plague Exposure Found in San Jacinto Mountains Squirrels (Riverside County)

Plague Closes Three Campgrounds Near Wrightwood

Other Flea and Tick Borne Diseases

 Murine Typhus Fever

Lyme Disease



Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


 Rabbit Fever (Tularemia)

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever

Tick Paralysis

Common Source Outbreak of Relapsing Fever — Big Bear California

Diseases transmitted to Humans by Internal Parasites

Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris)



 In the event of an outbreak it is critical that the origin of the original disease is located.  These diseases are often detected when dead or dying animals are found, wildlife management officials notice irregular animal behavior, or when regular surveillance testing by state or county officials reveals the presence of diseases in wildlife. If animals have been released to other areas, there is no way to determine the initial location of an outbreak.  Don’t be the vector-do not trap and release wild animals!