|Description:||These domestic sheep were lying on a hillside in Clencolumkille, County Donegal, Ireland with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. In 2004, Ireland had almost 7 million domestic sheep. That year, the Irish state exported approximately 51,500 tons of sheep meat valued at 165 million euros. While important to national economies, livestock industries can present health hazards for both producers and consumers.|
Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonoses. Q Fever, Coxiella burnetti, is a disease passed to humans from sheep. People working around domestic sheep should consider getting vaccinated against this disease. The disease can be acquired from the inhalation of aerosolized barnyard dust should it contain infected dried urine, manure particles, or dried fluids from the birth of calves, or lambs.
Domestic animals present problems not only for their handlers, i.e., farmers, but also for consumers when animals are used for food. Food products made from animals include not only meat, but meat derivatives that are added to sweets and other foods, and therefore, are less obvious to consumers. An example of a disease believed to be transmitted to humans from an animal product is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease-variant (vCJD), of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as "mad cow disease". Despite the extreme rarity of this illness, the effects are so devastating that public health officials around the world recommend their governments take strict prevention measures.