Can a human make a dog sick

Sick from pets : Dogs and cats can infect their owners

The infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites, scientists from Canada and the USA report in the "Canadian Medical Association Journal". For healthy people, the risk is low if the animals are adequately cared for and hygiene rules are observed.

Bites and scratches are dangerous

Many pet owners are not sufficiently aware that their companions can also transmit diseases, write the scientists led by Jason Stull from Ohio State University in Columbus. Children under five years of age, adults over 65 years of age, patients with a weakened immune system and pregnant women have the greatest risk of a zoonotic disease, i.e. an infection in which the pathogen is transmitted between animals and humans. The pathogens would be transmitted through bites and scratches, but also when they come into contact with the faeces, when cleaning cages and aquariums or when keepers let their animals lick their faces.

It is essential to observe the hygiene rules

For example, dogs and cats transmit the diarrhea pathogen Campylobacter jejuni, cats also pass on various Bartonella bacteria that can cause fever and severe inflammation. Resistant pathogens such as ESBL (extended spectrum ß-lactamase-producing Escherischia coli), MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or Clostridium difficile can be transmitted - in both directions - between humans and their pets.

Amphibians and reptiles, on the other hand, appear to be responsible for a large number of sporadic salmonella infections in animal owners. Parasites, such as worms, are mainly transmitted by dogs and cats. Cats in particular spread the pathogen Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis primarily endangers unborn children and can cause severe malformations or miscarriage.

In order to protect themselves, pet owners should follow hygiene rules and wash their hands after contact with animals, is the recommendation of the authors. Gloves should be worn when cleaning cages, aquariums or litter boxes and the animals should also be checked regularly by the vet. (dpa)

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