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Disease types


In both veterinary and human medicine, infectious diseases (caused by fungi, bacteria, parasites or viruses etc.) are usually characterized according to different criteria, and here is one example of classification of diseases within these two disciplines.

Classification according to distribution, infectivity and severity

Enzootic corresponds to endemic in human medicine and an enzootic disease is a disease, which is always present in a certain animal population, but which at a certain time only affects a small number of animals. Enzootic pneumonia in pigs, caused by Mycoplasma hyopneuminiae, is an example of a bacterial-induced enzootia.

Epizootic corresponds to epidemic in human medicine and an epzootic disease, is a serious animal infectious disease that is widespread. Anthrax, which is caused by Bacillus anthracis, is an example of a bacterial epizootic disease.

A panzootic is a serious infectious disease, which spreads over large parts of the world and affects one or several species in many  countries. Chrytridiomycosis in amphibians is an exaple of a panzootic caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.The equivalent term in human medicin is pandemic and  cholera, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, gave rise to three pandemics in the 19th century.

Zoonosis is a term used in both veterinary and human medicine, as it refers to infectious diseases, which can be transmitted between animals and humans via food, direct contact with infectious animals or through indirect contact with infectious animals via e.g. insect bites. Ringworm is an examples of a zoonosis, which is caused by fungi within the genus Trichophyton.

Updated: 2021-03-11.

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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences