The first epidemic of sporotrichosis in humans as a result of zoonotic transmission was identified in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1998. A cross-sectional study was conducted applying questionnaires to patients seen in 2002 at Evandro Chagas Clinical Research Institute, Fiocruz, with a confirmed diagnosis of sporotrichsosis. A total of 73 dwellings were studied, where 255 individuals, including 94 patients and 161 healthy household contacts, lived with 133 cats with sporotrichosis. Most dwellings were houses with 83% having complete basic sanitation. Among patients, there was a predominance of women with a median age of 41 years who were engaged in domestic activities. These women contracted the disease twice more often than men. The prevalence of sporotrichosis was four times higher among patients caring for animals, irrespective of gender. In the current epidemic of sporotrichosis, taking care of sick cats was the main factor associated with transmission of the disease to humans.