Are animals spreading deadly bacteria to humans?

Animals play a role in spreading deadly bacteria, as revealed by a study presented by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. The study found evidence of multidrug-resistant bacteria being passed between sick cats and dogs and their healthy owners in Portugal and the UK, raising concerns about pets acting as reservoirs of resistance.

Lead researcher Juliana Menezes from the University of Lisbon emphasized the importance of understanding and addressing the transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) bacteria from pets to humans to effectively combat AMR in both populations.

Drug-resistant infections currently kill over 1.2 million people annually worldwide, with that number projected to increase to 10 million by 2050 if action is not taken, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Researchers tested samples from dogs, cats, and their owners for Enterobacterales resistant to common antibiotics. The study involved five cats, 38 dogs, and 78 humans from households in Portugal, as well as 22 dogs and 56 humans from households in the UK.

The study revealed that bacteria can be transmitted between pets and humans through activities like petting, touching, kissing, and handling feces. To prevent transmission, researchers recommended practicing good hygiene such as washing hands after petting animals or handling waste.

Menezes advised pet owners to consider isolating sick pets in one room to prevent the spread of bacteria throughout the house. It is also essential to clean other rooms thoroughly to maintain a hygienic environment.


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