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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  |  National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases |  One Health Office


March 2018

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Stay Healthy Around Farm Animals

farmFor many people, interacting with farm animals only happens occasionally at a petting zoo or other animal exhibit. But for people who work in agriculture, contact with these animals is often part of their daily lives. People who work or interact with farm animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, and other poultry are at a higher risk of getting zoonotic diseases (diseases shared between animals and people) because farm animals can sometimes carry germs that make people sick, even if they look healthy.

People who interact with farm animals can follow some simple steps to protect themselves by

  • Washing hands right after contact with farm animals, being in animal areas, or equipment used around animals
  • Supervising young children around farm animals
  • Covering open wounds or cuts when around farm animals
  • Avoiding bites, scratches, and kicks from farm animals
  • Making sure farm animals receive routine veterinary care


Did you know?

  • There are more than 2 million farms in the United States.
  • More than 25 million youth are estimated to live on, work on, or visit farms nationwide.
  • About 150 million people visit agricultural fairs each year, as well as the animals shown there.


Learn more about staying healthy around farm animals

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