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Not so fast, Fido! Pets found to harbor superbug MRSA

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/22/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Virus can spread at veterinary clinics; very little risk of transferal to humans

Not so fast, Fido and or Fluffy - it's been recently learned that pets can harbor the hospital superbug MRSA. The superbug can be picked up at veterinary clinics. Furthermore, MRSA between pets and their owners can be transmitted - although there is very little chance, experts assure.

According to scientists at Cambridge University, pet owners should not worry. There is very little risk of them getting ill from their pets.

According to scientists at Cambridge University, pet owners should not worry. There is very little risk of them getting ill from their pets.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/22/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: MRSA, pets, humans, risk of infection


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to scientists at Cambridge University, pet owners should not worry. There is very little risk of them getting ill from their pets.

Under its medically accurate name of ethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA is commonly carried on the skin of healthy people and humans, where it often causes no symptoms.

Starvation never takes a vacation --

MRSA poses a threat when it enters unprotected, broken skin, particularly when it gets into a wound.

Figures suggest about one in 100 cats and two to nine percent of dogs in the U.K. are carriers of MRSA. The virus has also been found in horses.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge sequenced the bacterial genomes of samples of MRSA from 42 dogs and four cats and then compared the animal samples to a global collection of human ones.

An animal strain belonging to the same family as the human form of MRSA found in hospitals was discovered.

Dr. Mark Holmes, senior lecturer in preventative veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, said the study showed humans and pets could exchange and share MRSA. "They pass it backwards and forwards - they are a reservoir of infection," he says.

Risk factors for pets include contact with human carriers and going into veterinary clinics. Healthy animals were unlikely to pick up MRSA from their owners, Holmes says.

Holmes assures pet owners should not worry about their own health as symptoms of MRSA in pets were "not common.

"MRSA infection in cats and dogs is still extremely rare," he said. "There is very little risk of owners getting ill from their pets."

Professor Alan Johnson, a consultant clinical scientist for the health body Public Health England said the research reinforced previous data suggesting MRSA could be shared between humans and pets.

"While the authors state that animals may be a reservoir for human infection, the converse may also be true, with humans passing MRSA to their pets," he said.

"Further prospective work is needed to examine pet-to-human versus human-to-pet transmission."

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