Zinc, also known as spelter, is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2. Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and has five stable isotopes. The most exploited zinc ore is sphalerite, a zinc sulfide.

Zinc is an essential mineral of “exceptional biologic and public health importance”.


A zoonosis or zoonose is any infectious disease that can be transmitted (in some instances, by a vector) from non-human animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to non-human animals (the latter is sometimes called reverse zoonosis). Many serious diseases fall under this category.

The simplest definition of a zoonosis is a disease that can be transmitted from other vertebrate animals to humans. A slightly more technical definition is a disease that normally infects other animals, but can also infect humans. The reverse situation (transmission from human to animal) is known as anthroponosis.

The emerging interdisciplinary field of conservation medicine, which integrates human and veterinary medicine, and environmental sciences, is largely concerned with zoonoses.