Fever After Bites, Stings and Animal, Insect Contact

Animals, insects and reptiles are carriers of many pathogenic microorganisms that can causes diseases in humans. While a greater risk of contracting an infection may exist from a bite or sting, even casual contact from petting, carrying and feeding an animal or insect could transmit an infection.

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The signs and symptoms of an infection transmitted by an animal or insect may vary but a fever is usually present in all cases. The incubation period for different microorganisms also varies and the first signs or symptoms may be evident within a few hours to weeks after exposure.

What is a vector?

A vector is a animal or insect that is a carrier of certain pathogenic organisms which can infect and cause diseases in humans. The vector may just be passive carrier or plays an important part in the life-cycle of the infectious agent to become a pathogenic microorganism.

Types of Infections from Animals and Insects

Please note that this is not a complete list of all the types of infections contracted from animals and insects. Always speak to a doctor if you suspect that your signs and symptoms may be related to any exposure to an animal or insect. If a fever has arisen shortly after (2 to 6 weeks) a trip, refer to the causes of Traveler’s Fever.


  • Domestic (pets and livestock)
    • Brucellosis – unpasteurized milk from cows and goats.
    • Cat scratch disease – lick, bite or scratch from an infected cat.
    • Q fever – exposure to the urine, feces, milk and birth products of pets and livestock.
    • Toxoplasmosis –  food, contact with domestic animals,  mother-child transmission.
  • Wild
    • Tularemia – direct contact with an infected animal; via a tick, horsefly or mosquito;  eating raw or partially cooked meat of an infected animal.
    • Rabies – bite from an infected animal (wild/stray animals, less frequently from domestic animals)
    • Hantavirus – exposure to the urine, feces or saliva of an infected animal.


  • Rabies
  • Histoplasmosis – exposure to soil contaminated with bat droppings.


  • Psittacosis – exposure to bird droppings.
  • Histoplasmosis


  • Plague – bites of fleas that feed on infected rats.
  • Murine typhus fever


  • Typhus
  • Louse-bound relapsing fever
  • Trench fever


  • Malaria
  • Arboviral infections
    • St.Louis encephalitis
    • West Nile virus
    • LaCrosse encephalitis.
    • Dengue fever
    • Yellow Fever
  • Tularemia


  • Salmonellosis


  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Colorado tick fever
  • Tick-borne relapsing fever
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia

Other Bugs

  • Chagas diseae – triatomine bug
  • Leishmaniasis – sandfly
  • African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) – tsetse fly

Related Articles

  1. What is a Fever (Pyrexia)? Normal and High Body Temperature
  2. Travel Disease (Infections) Diagnosis – Traveler’s Medical History


  1. Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases. CDC.gov

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