Teacher’s Questions for Infectious Animals


Before reading:

1. Can you name one type of germ that sickens both people and animals?

2. List three ways that people and animals interact.

During reading:

1. What type of germ causes the flu?

2. Where can a flu virus live?

3. What is the difference between a host and a reservoir?

4. What animals are natural reservoirs for flu germs?

5. Explain three ways that flu viruses spread from host to host.

6. What are zoonotic diseases? Are they common?

7. What are vaccines made of, and how do they work?

8. Why do doctors recommend getting a flu shot every year? Remember, for many other diseases, doctors recommend a vaccination only once every five years, or every decade. What makes flu so different?

9. List four ways that people and animals come into contact with each other.

10. When a germ jumps from one host to another and encounters an immune system that’s never before been exposed to that germ, what can happen?

11. What tipped off scientists that bats might be a reservoir for Nipah virus?

12. What are antibodies and what can they tell scientists?

13. Why did Nipah virus emerge at the pig farm in Malaysia?

14. Which country imports the most wildlife, both legally and illegally?

15. What happens to most of the wildlife imported into the United States?

16. What types of pets are poor choices for preschoolers? Why?

17. What is bush meat? Where does most bush meat imported into the United States come from?

18. For those who eat bush meat, what’s the appeal?

19. Why can bush meat be dangerous to people who come into contact with it? Name two disease-causing viruses that spread from bush meat to people.

20. Why is it so important to monitor imported wildlife?

21. What one simple thing does Epstein say you can do to reduce the spread of germs between yourself and animals?

22. How are human activities on land making sea otters sick?

After reading:

1. Which were you more surprised to learn: that animals can spread disease-causing germs to people, or that people can spread disease-causing germs to animals? Explain your answer.

2. Do you think there will be more or fewer zoonotic disease outbreaks in the future? Explain your answer.

Social studies:

1. Other than hand washing, what else can you do to lessen the spread of germs between yourself and animals?

2. Do you think people should be allowed to have any type of animal for a pet? If not, which type of pet would you prohibit? And if yes, what type of rules might you add to make certain animals safer to keep at home? Explain your answers.