A significant number of people in our region get food poisoning each year.
A significant number of people in our region get food poisoning each year. LarsZahnerPhotography

Animals that can make you sick

BEHIND this furry feline face prowls a dark secret that can make you as sick as a dog.

Cats, cows, canines, pet lizards, snakes and chooks are making Northern Rivers residents crook.

More than 110 local animal-related disease notifications were made to the NSW Health Department in 2018, with mosquitoes the main offenders, but at least one illness related to horses, dogs, cats, bovines and other common livestock and pets also took their toll.

There were notifications for salmonella, leptospirosis, Barmah Forest virus, dengue, malaria and Ross River virus.

Leptospirosis is carried by many common household and farm animals while salmonella could be spread by pet lizards and snakes.

Barmah Forest virus, dengue and Ross River virus - the most common animal-related diseases in our region - are spread by mozzies.

Dr Vincent Ho said people with pet reptiles were at high risk of salmonella.

"Pet reptiles carry salmonella and this can be quite an issue for young children," he said.

Paul Corben said our region offered an ideal environment for mozzie diseases to thrive.

"NSW has a robust system around the notification of mosquito-borne disease that includes the trapping of mosquitoes to monitor their abundance and the activity of viruses that causes diseases," he said. "Due to the complex mix of factors leading to infection and reporting of Ross River and Barmah Forest virus, it is very difficult to predict whether there will be elevated numbers of cases in the coming year."