Occupational diseases are acute, recurring or chronic health problems caused or aggravated by work conditions or practices.


Zoonoses are diseases that pass from animals to humans.

People who have close  contact with animals or animal products, such as veterinarians, farmers, abattoir workers, shearers and wildlife workers can minimise the risk through good personal hygiene, wearing protective clothing, getting vaccinated and maintaining healthy animals

The below diseases are notifiable to us and NSW Health.


Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by infection with bacillus anthracis. It occurs worldwide and infects a range of domestic and wild animals, as well as humans. More information is available in the Anthrax fact sheet by NSW Health.

Avian influenza (bird flu)

Avian influenza – also known as bird flu, fowl plague and fowl pest – is a highly infectious viral disease that infects birds, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, quails, guinea fowl and ostriches. More information is available in the Avian influenza fact sheet by NSW Department of Primary Industries.


Brucellosis is a rare infection caused by the bacteria brucella, which spreads from infected animals to humans. Animals are infected worldwide, however, brucellosis is well controlled in most developed countries, such as Australia. More information is available in the Brucellosis fact sheet by NSW Health.

Hendra virus

Hendra virus is a sporadic disease of horses and humans that causes serious illness. The virus passes from flying foxes to horses, and from horses to humans via blood, body fluids and tissues. More information is available in the Safe Work Australia Guide to managing risks when new and inexperienced persons interact with horses.

More information on hendra virus


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease generally found in infected animal urine and animal tissues. Outbreaks are usually associated with exposure to flood water contaminated with urine from infected animals. More information on leptospirosis.

Read the Protect yourself from leptospirosis fact sheet.


Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) is a virus that was first identified in 1996, that can be transmitted from bats to humans, causing serious illness. There are twelve types of lyssavirus that occur around the world but ABLV is the only type known to occur in Australia. ABLV is closely related (but not identical) to rabies virus, which causes a serious and usually fatal disease in humans if not treated immediately. Infection is possible only through direct contact with an infected bat.


Psittacosis is a disease caused by the bacteria, Chlamydia psittaci, carried by birds. Humans commonly catch the disease from infected birds after inhaling the bacteria from secretions and droppings. More information is available in the Psittacosis fact sheet by NSW Health.

Q fever

Q fever is caused by the organism Coxiella burnetii, which is found in the tissues of infected animals. The main carriers of the disease are cattle, sheep, goats and kangaroos. People are infected after inhaling the bacteria when in contact with infected animals, animal tissues or animal products. More information is available in the Q fever and veterinary staff fact sheet by NSW Health.

More information on Q fever

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