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Pets pass superbug to humans

June 22nd, 2009, 08:03 PM livescience Staff – Sun Jun 21, 11:25 pm ET
Transmission of an infectious superbug from dogs and cats to humans, and back again, is an increasing problem, a new study finds.

The superbug, a strain of bacteria known as MRSA, has evolved a resistance to antibiotics. It has long plagued hospitals but in recent years has become more common in homes. MRSA has even invaded beaches.

Only about two years ago, scientists began to seriously suspect pets were transmitting the bacteria.

In the July edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Richard Oehler of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and colleagues lay out the latest thinking on MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and pets.

The infections can be transmitted by animal bites and most threaten young children, the researchers note.

"As community-acquired strains of MRSA increase in prevalence, a growing body of clinical evidence has documented MRSA colonization in domestic animals, often implying direct acquisition of S aureus infection from their human owners," they write. "MRSA colonization has been documented in companion animals such as horses, dogs, and cats, and these animals have been viewed as potential reservoirs of infection."

Dog and cat bites make up about 1 percent of emergency room visits in the United States.

Some facts presented in the journal:

Women and the elderly are most at risk of being bitten by a cat.
Men in general and those aged under 20 of both sexes are most likely to be injured.
Most bite exposures occur in young children, involve unrestrained dogs on the owner's property, and about 20 percent involve a non-neutered dog.
Risk is highest in young boys aged 5 to 9 years, due to their small size and lack of understanding of provocative behavior.

Severe infections can occur in about 20 percent of all cases, the researchers state, and are caused by Pasteurella, Streptococcus, Fusobacterium, and Capnocytophaga bacteria from the animal's mouth, plus possibly other pathogens from the human's skin.

"Proper treatment of dog and cat bites should involve treatment of the immediate injury (whether superficial or deep) and then management of the risk of acute infection, including washing with high pressure saline if possible, and antibiotics in selected cases," the researchers suggest.

"Bites to the hands, forearms, neck, and head have the potential for the highest morbidity," the scientists warn. They conclude: "Much more remains to be learned about MRSA and pet-associated human infections."

June 22nd, 2009, 09:34 PM
Oh goodie, one more reason for people to dump their pets when this story gets out. :sad:

June 23rd, 2009, 10:55 AM

has nothing to do with anti-bacterials being put in everything like dishsoap, cleaning supplies, body products etc..........

nothing about humans overuse of anti-botics, let alone all the anti-botics that are pumped into our food supply that we consume every day.

nothing about the overuse of antibacterials and anti-botics that cause bacteria to become stronger and harder to beat.

No humans are never evil............everything else is.

Sorry this disgusts me.

June 23rd, 2009, 11:15 AM
Oh goodie, one more reason for people to dump their pets when this story gets out. :sad:

Good point.

And on a side note, I think the correct term in the original post is called a zoonotic (Zoonosis) disease

A zoonosis (pronounced /ˌzoʊ.əˈnoʊsɨs/) or zoonose is any infectious disease that can be transmitted (in some instances, by a vector) from other animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to animals (the latter is sometimes called reverse zoonosis). The word is derived from the Greek words zņon (animal) and nosos (ill). Many serious diseases fall under this category.

The simplest definition of a zoonosis is a disease that can be transmitted from other vertebrate animals to humans. A slightly more technical definition is a disease that normally infects other animals, but can also infect humans.

from the site:

You would think that the aurthor would have known this? or read up on it.

Also, cats have a bacteria in their bodies that is for killing prey. Most small animals that cats kill die from the infection from the cats bacteria in their mouth/claws. I'll get a call for a usually baby rabbit, birds that a cat has attacked. Even if I do not see any punture wounds, or even if the animal is acting good, I always take it back to the shelter, for a few hours of observation from the health techs, then after an assessment, it is released in the same spot where it was found.

You know when you get scratched and the area bubbles up. This is the cats bacteria from either its mouth or scratched. We are too big for the bacteria to cause any damage....however, I know of some cases where people have lost fingers due to a cat right, or had terrible infections form getting bite or scratched.


June 23rd, 2009, 12:43 PM
I agree about the anti biotics, its stupid that everyone is so afraid of every thing out there that they smother themselves in the exact thing that will bring about them getting something that there trying to avoid. :wall:

June 23rd, 2009, 12:56 PM
I have been bit by dogs, I hate been bit and scratched by cats. I was attacked by a cat, that was a bad one. But the worse infection I ever had was when my sister bit my arm and broke skin, that was nasty nasty nasty.

June 24th, 2009, 09:58 AM
That's interesting about the whole cats and bacteria thing. I always thought that when they scratched me and it got all bumpy and itchy it was because of my allergies.