Sheep and Goat Disease

Last Modified: Marzo 31, 2024
A brown goat and a white sheep stand together and look at the viewer.

APHIS protects U.S. sheep and goats from several significant diseases. The National Scrapie Eradication Program is our main focus. We also address other foreign, zoonotic, or emerging diseases when needed and monitor and promote sheep and goat health and productivity.

Educate, Report, and Submit

You can help by officially identifying your sheep and goats, submitting samples from mature dead sheep and goats for scrapie testing, and implementing a biosecurity plan that includes scrapie-resistant genetics. 
Learn more about scrapie prevention and testing

Zoonotic Sheep and Goat Diseases

Some sheep and goat diseases are zoonotic, meaning they can spread to humans. People can contract zoonotic diseases through direct contact with infected animals, consuming contaminated food or water, or inhaling disease particles. Flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests can also spread diseases from animals to people.

Below is a condensed list of zoonotic sheep and goat diseases. They are grouped by common routes for human infection. Many of these diseases, whether in animals or people, are reportable to State and Federal authorities. Contact your State veterinarian or your State/local health department for information about disease reporting requirements in animals or people.

Spread To Humans Through Handling Sheep and Goats

  • Anthrax
  • Brucellosis
  • Contagious ecthyma
  • Mange, scabies
  • Ringworm
  • Tularemia
  • Vesicular stomatitis
  • Chlamydiosis
  • Leptospirosis

Spread to Humans Through Consuming Contaminated Food or Water

  • Anthrax (can also be contracted through breathing)
  • Brucellosis
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Chlamydosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Escherichia coli
  • Listeriosis
  • Q Fever (can also be contracted through breathing)
  • Salmonella
  • Sarcocystosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (can also be contracted through skin contact)

Spread to Humans Through Bites (Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes)

  • Louping ill
  • Rift Valley fever
  • Rabies (people can also be exposed to the virus if saliva, brain, or spinal cord fluids of an infected animal enters cuts or breaks in the skin or mucous membranes)

Spread to Humans Through Pests

  • Screwworm