Timeline showing emerging and re-emerging diseases over the last 30 years. Source: Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University

Emerging and High Consequence Diseases

Emerging diseases can include any newly discovered pathogen, diseases that have spread to new or additional locations or different hosts, or that have increased in occurrence. One example was the introduction of West Nile virus into the United States in 1999 and its subsequent spread across the nation in the years to follow.

Many of the recent emerging diseases of humans are also considered zoonotic diseases – diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans – increasing the potential risk for individuals in close contact with animals.

High consequence diseases are those that affect agricultural commodities, such as livestock, poultry or crops, resulting in severe economic impacts from production decline or loss, or possible restrictions or bans placed on the export of commodities.

Introduction of these diseases are naturally occurring (e.g., weather patterns, vectors, or wildlife) or accidental (e.g., import, human activities) but can be prevented in most cases by taking the proper precautions and preparedness actions.

Learn more about emerging and high consequence diseases of animals and crops, prevention measures, and how to protect your family, livestock and crops.

Emerging and High Consequence Diseases Preparedness Factsheets

Emerging Zoonotic Diseases and Your Family (pdf, 1 page)
More Family Resources
High Consequence Diseases and Your Livestock (pdf, 2 pages)
More Livestock Resources
High Consequence Diseases and Your Crops (pdf, 2 pages)
More Crop Resources

Additional Web Resources

Animal Disease Information
Website featuring animal disease factsheets and images, including disease descriptions, agents, and affected species.
The Center for Food Security and Public Health
Division of Vector-borne Diseases
Website featuring information for several prominent vector-borne diseases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Emerging Disease Issues
Website focuses on emerging disease issues in Michigan, but provides many useful links that would be helpful in any part of the country.
State of Michigan
Global Early Warning And Response System For Major Animal Diseases, Including Zoonoses
Pinpoints worldwide outbreaks of animal diseases, and includes information on specific diseases.
World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, World Organization for Animal Health
Tick Encounter Resource Center
Website featuring information concerning tick species and life cycles as well as protection from bites and related diseases.
University of Rhode Island
World Animal Health Information System: Weekly Disease Information
List of all recent worldwide outbreaks of animal diseases, organized by week. Each entry is a link to the report of the outbreak.
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)