Dogs and cats have been sharing our environment for a long time and as pets they bring major psychological well-being to our modern urbanized society. However, they still can be a source of human infection by various pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
Since the middle of the 20th century, pets are more frequently considered as “family members” within households. However, cats and dogs still can be a source of human infection by various zoonotic pathogens. Among emerging or re-emerging zoonoses, viral diseases, such as rabies (mainly from dog pet trade or travel abroad), but also feline cowpox and newly recognized noroviruses or rotaviruses or influenza viruses can sicken our pets and be transmitted to humans. Bacterial zoonoses include bacteria transmitted by bites or scratches, such as pasteurellosis or cat scratch disease, leading to severe clinical manifestations in people because of their age or immune status and also because of our closeness, not to say intimacy, with our pets.
Cutaneous contamination with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Leptospira spp., and/or aerosolization of bacteria causing tuberculosis or kennel cough are also emerging/re-emerging pathogens that can be transmitted by our pets, as well as gastro-intestinal pathogens such as Salmonella or Campylobacter. Parasitic and fungal pathogens, such as echinococcosis, leishmaniasis, onchocercosis, or sporotrichosis, are also re-emerging or emerging pet related zoonoses. Common sense and good personal and pet hygiene are the key elements to prevent such a risk of zoonotic infection.
Author: Bruno B. Chomel. Full story here.