Farm animals including cows, sheep, pigs, and goats can pass diseases to people. It is very important to wash your hands thoroughly after touching farm animals or items that have been in contact with farm animals such as fences, buckets and straw bedding.
Here are links to farm animal-related diseases:
Anthrax - A bacterial disease associated with farm animals and handling animal hides [not in Ireland]
Brucellosis - A bacterial disease associated with cattle, sheep and goats
Campylobacter - A bacterial disease associated with farm animals, particularly pigs, as well as dogs and cats
Cryptosporidiosis - A parasitic disease associated with cattle and sheep and to a lesser extent dogs and cats
Leptospirosis - An infectious disease spread through contact with rats or cattle, rat or dog urine or foetal fluids from cattle.
Q Fever - A bacterial disease occasionally associated with cattle, sheep and goats
Rabies - A viral disease associated with mammals, particularly dogs. Ireland is officially rabies free.
Ringworm - A fungal disease associated with many farm animals, including cattle, pigs and horses
Salmonellosis - A bacterial disease associated with farm animals, especially poultry (chicken) and horses
Toxoplasmosis - A parastic disease which can infect all mammals and birds. Pregnant women and those in at risk groups should avoid contact with sheep at lambing time and avoid handling dirty clothing used by those handling lambing ewes and newborn lambs.
Tuberculosis - An infectious disease associated with cattle
VTEC - A bacterial disease associated with farm animals.
Information on visits to open farms and the risk of VTEC is available here.
Last updated: 18 February 2013