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Disease prevention in animal contact areas

The vast majority of contact between animals and humans does not result in any illness, however animals may carry a range of micro-organisms potentially harmful to humans. Diseases that can be passed from animals to humans are called zoonoses.

Reports of human illness associated with animal contact through farms, shows, zoos, petting zoos and wildlife exhibitors are infrequent in Australia, however where illness does occur, the disease can be serious, especially for:

  • infants and young children
  • pregnant women
  • older adults
  • people with compromised immune systems.

Queensland Health has developed animal contact guidelines to provide advice and resources for those managing or attending:

  • agricultural shows and field days
  • exhibits held at shopping centres
  • animals visiting or resident at health care or residential aged care facilities
  • animals visiting or resident at early childhood education and care centres or schools (e.g. class room pets, egg hatching programs, mini farms, animals used in class room studies)
  • animals on agricultural farms run by schools
  • animal nurseries, petting zoos
  • commercial farm visits (e.g. farm stays)
  • nature education centres
  • pet shops
  • travelling farms, mobile exhibits or animal troupes (e.g. circus, carnivals)
  • wildlife sanctuaries, photo opportunities
  • zoos, wildlife parks, aquaria (wildlife exhibitors).

Download Animal contact guidelines – reducing the risk to human health (PDF, 1.8MB)


The following resources have been developed to assist in providing information to visitors or participants in animal contact areas:

Last updated: 11 January 2018