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.

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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