Diseases You Can Get From Your Pets: Plague, MRSA, Meningitis...

By Veronique Greenwood
Dec 12, 2011 6:20 PMOct 24, 2019 4:53 PM
cute dog
cute dog


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Anyone who’s watched a cat engage in a strenuous butt-licking session only to come over and start in on cleaning up your hand has probably wondered how healthy this can possibly be. Maryn McKenna over at Superbug has uncovered a paper that will probably terrify, but may, with its detailed descriptions of diseases contracted from pets (did you know you can get meningitis from dogs?), fascinate you. From the paper, titled “Zoonoses in the Bedroom”:

“A 2008 matched case–control study surveyed 9 plague survivors, 12 household members of these survivors, and 30 age- and neighborhood-matched controls about household and individual exposures. Four (44%) survivors… reported sleeping in the same bed with a pet dog…

“Two cases of meningitis in newborn children (less than 1 month of age) have been reported; one was associated with a pet cat stealing a baby’s pacifier and using it as a toy, and the other was associated with a pet dog that often licked the baby’s face…

“A 48-year-old man with diabetes and his wife had recurrent MRSA infections. Culture of nares samples from the family dog grew mupirocin-resistant MRSA that had a PFGE chromosomal pattern identical to the MRSA isolated from the patient’s nares and his wife’s wound. The couple reported that the dog routinely slept in their bed and frequently licked their faces…

“A 60-year-old patient with chronic eczema died of septic shock and renal failure and disseminated intravascular coagulation caused by C. canimorsus. The ulcerous chronic eczema of his legs was the most probable port of entry for the organism because his dog used to lick his legs…”

This especially goes out to the folks with open wounds or immune deficiencies: your new puppy may be an itty-bitty schmoopy-woopy, but please, don’t share bodily fluids.

Image courtesy of aslives / flickr

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