Navigation Links
Pets May Pass Illnesses to Owners
Date:1/21/2011

By Maryann Mott
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- You might want to think twice before snuggling in bed at night with Fido or Fluffy.

According to a report published in the February issue of the public health journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, seemingly healthy pets can carry parasites, bacteria or viruses that cause mild to life-threatening illness in people.

Of the 250 zoonotic diseases -- infections transmitted between animals and people -- more than 100 are derived from domestic pets, said veterinarian Dr. Bruno Chomel, report co-author and professor of zoonoses at University of California School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis.

Even though disease transmission is low in comparison to how many people sleep with their pets -- more than half of all U.S. pet owners -- Chomel said the risks are still there.

"Having a pet in the bed is not a good idea," he said.

In one case a 69-year-old man, whose dog slept under the covers with him and licked his hip replacement wound, came down with meningitis. Another incident involved a 9-year-old boy who got plague, a potentially deadly bacterial infection, from sleeping with his flea-infested cat.

Other infections transmitted to people after sleeping with their cat or dog, kissing them or being licked by the pet include: hookworm, ringworm, roundworm, cat scratch disease and drug-resistant staph infections, the report said.

While people need to be aware that it's possible to get sick from a pet, the health benefits of ownership far outweigh the risks, said Dr. Peter Rabinowitz of the Yale School of Medicine and co-author of the text book Human-Animal Medicine: Clinical Approaches to Zoonoses, Toxicants and Other Shared Health Risks. Research has shown that besides offering psychological support and friendship, pets help to lower blood pressure, increase physical activity, reduce stress and lift owners' spirits, among other things.

However, he said, people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for getting an infection from an animal. These include the elderly, children younger than 5 years, people with HIV/AIDS and cancer patients.

Owners can stay healthy by practicing good hygiene habits, which include washing hands with soap and hot water after handling pets, especially puppies, kittens or any aged cat or dog with diarrhea. Those "high-risk pets," he said, are more likely to harbor an infection that could be passed to people. Also, immediately wash any area licked by a pet.

To prevent and catch illnesses early, keep animals free of fleas and ticks, routinely de-worm them and have them regularly examined by a veterinarian, the report advises. The authors also discourage owners from kissing their cats or dogs and sharing a bed with them.

Because most zoonotic diseases are under-diagnosed or not reportable to health authorities, Rabinowitz said no one really knows how many cases occur each year. However, he suspects several million infections are passed between pets and people annually in the United States, ranging from self-limited skin conditions to life-threatening systemic illnesses.

"We think there are probably a lot of infections that happen and nobody really figures out that it came from the pet," said Rabinowitz, program director of the Yale Human Animal Medicine Project.

In recent years, an initiative called "One Health" -- whose supporters include the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association -- has pushed for better communication and collaboration between doctors and veterinarians. Approximately 60 percent of all human pathogens are zoonotic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Just this week the president of the American Medical Association spoke at a veterinary conference in Orlando, Fla., about the importance of unifying the health professions.

"It's not only animals giving infections to people, it looks like people can infect animals, too," said Rabinowitz, citing a case where a domestic shorthaired cat in Iowa contracted the H1N1 virus from its owner. "It's a two-way street."

More information

To find out more zoonotic illnesses, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., associate professor, medicine, Yale School of Medicine and program director, Yale Human Animal Medicine Project, New Haven, Conn; Bruno Chomel, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor, population health & reproduction, University of California School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis, Calif; Emerging Infectious Disease, February 2011


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Young patients with chronic illnesses find relief in acupuncture
2. New Diagnostic Guidelines for Mental Illnesses Proposed
3. Food-borne Illnesses in U.S. Cost $152B Annually
4. Hearts and Minds Promotes Wellness; African Americans Living with Mental Illness Have Higher Risk for Other Illnesses.
5. E. coli Declines, but Other Foodborne Illnesses a Worry
6. Food Poisoning Suspected in 3 Deaths, 40 Illnesses at Central State Hospital in Pineville, LA
7. Team-Based Treatment Helps Those With Cluster of Chronic Illnesses
8. Launch of On Time Air Filters: Home Air Filter Delivery Service Helps Homeowners Replace All-Important Home HVAC Filters On Time
9. Dog Owners and Southie Residents Welcome Fenway Bark Into the Pack
10. Survey: Toyota owners maintain high overall satisfaction despite recalls
11. EPA's New Lead-Based Paint (LBP) Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) Causes Headaches for Contractors and Property Owners Alike
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pets May Pass Illnesses to Owners
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an ... Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile ... orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are ... Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute ... presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® & Innovative Solutions today announced ... and processing operations at its production facility, and opened its first two dispensaries ... manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air and surface purification solutions for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Pro-Am Heroes Golf Classic Tournament held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country ... local charity, Luke’s Wings, an organization dedicated to helping service members that have been ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... to 2022" report to their offering. ... patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys ... blood and thus the treatment helps to keep the patient ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... RIDGE, Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS ... of students receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship ... The 2016 scholarship winners, announced today online at ... to let type 1 diabetes stand in the way ... Diabetes has supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: