The dilution effect (DE) has been reported in many diseases, but its generality is still highly disputed. Most current criticisms of DE are related to animal diseases. Particularly, some critical studies argued that DE is less likely to occur in complex environments. Here our meta-analyses demonstrated that the magnitude of DE did not differ between animal vs plant diseases. Moreover, DE generally occurs in all three subgroups of animal diseases, namely direct-transmitted diseases, vector-borne diseases and diseases caused by parasites with free-living stages. Our findings serve as an important contribution to understanding the generality of DE.