Knesha Rose-Davison, the Public Health Program Director for the AgriSafe Network presented a webinar on Zoonotic Disease and Pregnancy: A deeper Dive on May 19, 2021.  The webinar focused on common zoonotic diseases, discussing their warning signs and symptoms, modes of transmission, and prevention and how it affects reproductive health with a focus on the effects of pregnant farmers.

Zoonotic diseases are caused by pathogenic agents such as bacteria virus, fungi and parasites that can be spread between animals and people.  Zoonotic diseases can affect women who work in agriculture to include farmers, vets & vet techs, animal husbandry providers, slaughterhouse workers, meat processing workers, researchers, etc.


  • This bacterium can cause respiratory disease, eye infections, and abortions in animals, and sometimes humans.
  • Exposure is most likely to occur by ingestion (unwashed hands after contact with ill animal), aerosol (contaminated dust or splash from infected animal tissues) or direct contact with mucous membranes (touching your eye with contaminated hands).
  • Pregnant women should avoid contact with pregnant or aborting sheep and goats.
  • Animal-associated chlamydiosis in humans can cause flu-like symptoms (fever, body aches, headache), reddened eyes, and pneumonia.  In severe cases, infection of the heart or kidney can occur
  • Pregnant women that become infected can abort their baby.


The occupational prevention & protection methods for each of the six zoonotic diseases discussed are relatively the same and easy to implement on farm.


We have learned throughout the pandemic that washing hands for at least 20 seconds is key in preventing infection, but also key in preventing the illnesses listed above.  There are many infographics on washing hands but few that tell us when to wash hands.  Take a look at the list below for suggestions on when to wash hands to help prevent infection.


Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic infectious Disease, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology: https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/index.html