Animal Transmitted Diseases

Insects and other animals can carry a variety of diseases from human to human or from infected animals to humans. These diseases are preventable and can be treated. However, untreated animal transmitted diseases can be fatal.

The Division of Environment’s aim is to control and prevent the spread of insects, rodents, or other organisms which are able to spread disease.

Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases but their bites can cause rashes and other allergic symptoms. Once found only on bedding in homes, apartments, and/or rooming houses, now they are found in office buildings, retail stores, hospitals, dormitories, nursing homes, libraries, movie theaters, buses, or any other place where people gather.

For information from the Cuyahoga County Bed Bug Task Force: Click Here!

City of Cleveland Bed Bug Assistance Program Flyer: Click Here!

City of Cleveland Bed Bug Assistance Application: Click Here!

A bed bug

For more information visit Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Ticks are insects that survive by consuming the blood of other animals. Most ticks do not bite humans, but some do and can transmit disease from one human to another or from another animal to a human. The most common illnesses caused by ticks are Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Those bitten by infected ticks commonly experience symptoms such as body aches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, or rashes.

Ticks are more active during the warmer months and live in areas with woods, bushes and high grass. People can reduce their risk of infection by using insect repellent with 20%–30% DEET, checking themselves for ticks frequently, and avoiding places where ticks commonly live.

Ticks of varying sizes

AUDIO: Spring and Summer Ticks

For more information, please visit the CDC’s website by Clicking Here.

West Nile Virus / Mosquito-Borne Diseases
West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It causes flu-like symptoms that can sometimes lead to severe illness and even death, especially in people over 50. West Nile virus is important because it affects not only people but also wildlife and some domestic animals such as horses.

West Nile virus infection can happen anytime during mosquito season, which is usually from May through October. During this time, Cleveland residents should be prepared and take precautions against mosquitoes by using bug spray, staying indoors especially during the early morning and early evening, wearing appropriate clothing, and draining any standing water in and around their homes.

For more information on the West Nile Virus and other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Ohio, Click Here!

Rabies is a virus that affects the brains of humans and other mammals, resulting in a fatal disease. People and animals get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal or contact with saliva from such an animal.

To prevent possible exposure to rabies, all pet owners are advised to keep their pets’ vaccinations up to date and all people are advised to leave wildlife such as bats, raccoons, skunks, stray cats and dogs alone.

The Division of Animal Control Services (216-664-3069) can trap nuisance wild animals. Please click on the links below for more information on what you can do to keep some of these animals off of your property:

Rodent-borne diseases are spread directly to humans through bites, consuming food or water that is contaminated with rodent droppings, coming into contact with water contaminated with rodent urine, or through breathing in germs that may be present in rodent urine or droppings that have been stirred into the air – a process known as “aerosolization”.

Diseases from rodents are also spread indirectly to humans by way of ticks, mites, and fleas that transmit the infection to humans after feeding on infected rodents.

The Division recommends that people follow the CDC’s seal up; trap up; clean up method when encountering rats.

Cockroaches usually enter the home after being carried in inside grocery bags, with laundry or, in some cases, after wandering in from outdoors. Once cockroaches become established in a home, they are capable of producing several thousand off spring in a year.

Cockroaches prefer to live where there is food and moisture, so sanitation is an important step in prevention and control. Empty soft drink bottles, cardboard boxes and paper bags should be recycled or thrown away immediately. Food containers should be sealed and any crumbs or spills cleaned up. Unlike many household pests, cockroaches live year round and usually require some kind of professional extermination.

Cockroaches are capable of transmitting disease causing bacteria like those that cause food poisoning. Cockroaches have also been found to be the second-leading cause of allergies in people with the first being dust.