Named the danger of dogs and cats for their owners
Pets can transmit drug-resistant organisms to humans
A new study has found that domestic dogs and cats can pass on drug-resistant organisms to their owners.
Swabs taken from hospitalized people showed microbes shared with him at home by their pets, showing the same resistance to antibiotics, writes The Guardian.
Healthy dogs and cats can transmit multidrug-resistant organisms to hospitalized owners. In addition, according to a new study that is being presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen this weekend, people can transmit these dangerous microbes to their pets. However, the researchers stressed that the risk of cross-contamination is currently low.
The study of more than 2,800 hospital patients and their pet companions was carried out by Dr. Caroline Hackmann of the Charite University Hospital in Berlin and her colleagues. “Our results confirm that the exchange of multidrug-resistant organisms between companion animals and their owners is possible,” Dr. Hackmann said at the conference.
The role of pets as potential reservoirs of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs)—bacteria that resist treatment with more than one antibiotic—is a growing concern around the world. This happens when the germs causing the infection evolve and become resistant to the drug designed to kill them. Antimicrobial resistant infections are estimated to have caused nearly 1.3 million deaths and were associated with nearly 5 million deaths worldwide in 2019.
To find out if cats and dogs play a role in the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms, the researchers collected swabs from 2,891 hospitalized patients and all the dogs and felines that lived in their homes.
Genetic sequencing was used to identify the bacterial species in each sample and the presence of drug resistance genes. Overall, 30% of hospital patients tested positive for multidrug-resistant organisms. The proportion of dog owners was 11% and cat owners 9% of those who tested positive for multidrug-resistant organisms.
Pet owners were asked to send swab samples from their pets, and more than 300 people did so. Of these samples, 15% of dogs and 5% of cats tested positive for at least one multidrug-resistant organism. In four cases, these microbes were found to be of the same species and show the same antibiotic resistance in pets and their owners.
Whole genome sequencing confirmed that only one of the matched pairs was genetically identical in dog and owner. “Although the rate of exchange between hospital patients and their pets in our study is very low, carriers can shed bacteria into the environment for months, and they can become a source of infection for other, more vulnerable people in the hospital, such as people with weak immune systems and very young or old." says Dr. Hackmann.