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Infections that Can Be Spread by Pets

Thursday, November 17, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

I always worry that I can give my cat Millie on infection or virus but what infections can pets spread to us. Kidhealth.org answers this question,

The following information was obtained from KidsHealth.org

How Do Pets Spread Infections?

Also like us, animals carry germs. But illnesses common among house pets — such as distemper, canine parvovirus, and heartworms — can’t spread to people.

But some types of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that pets can carry can make people sick though a bite or scratch, or if someone has contact with an animal’s waste, saliva, or dander. Infants, kids younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems have a greater chance of getting sick from these.
Pet Precautions

Consider the type of pet and the health and age of your kids before you get a pet. For example, children whose immune systems are weak (from HIV, chemotherapy treatment for cancer, or steroid medicines) shouldn’t be around cats and dogs with ringworm infections. Kids with eczema should avoid aquariums. Reptiles and amphibians as pets are not a good idea for families with infants, young children, or an immunocompromised family member.
Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats can carry infections such as:

Campylobacter infection: In people, this bacterial infection causes diarrhea, belly pain, and fever.
Cat scratch disease: Signs of this bacterial infection include swollen and tender lymph nodes , fever, headaches, and tiredness.
Rabies: This serious illness is rare thanks to widespread immunization of dogs and cats in the United States.
Diseases carried by ticks: Tick-borne diseases can happen when ticks attach to pets outdoors. Use tick prevention products on pets and safely remove and dispose of ticks as soon as possible.
Ringworm: Kids can get ringworm from touching infected dogs and cats. This can cause a dry, scaly round area with a raised red bumpy border and a clear center.
Toxocariasis: The eggs of a parasitic roundworm in the intestines of dogs and cats can pass from their poop into soil where kids play. An infected child can have a fever, cough or wheezing, enlarged liver, rash, or swollen lymph nodes.
Toxoplasmosis: An infection from a parasite found in cat poop usually causes no symptoms in healthy people but can cause serious problems for pregnant women and their unborn babies. So pregnant women and people with weak immune systems should not clean litter boxes.

Remember pets are family!
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