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Dogs and cats can transmit antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' to their owners – Science & Health

Dogs and cats can transmit antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' to their owners – Science & Health

This work raises concerns “that pets may serve as reservoirs of resistance and thus help spread resistance to essential drugs.”

A study conducted in Portugal and the United Kingdom suggests that pet dogs and cats play an important role in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, released on Saturday.

The European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) said in a statement that the research will be presented at its global conference, which will be held in Barcelona (Spain) from April 27 to 30.

After finding “evidence of transmission of multi-resistant bacteria between sick dogs and cats and their healthy owners in Portugal and the UK”, the work raises concerns “that pets may act as reservoirs of resistance and thus help spread resistance”. for essential medicines.

In this regard, the statement points out the importance of including families with pets in antibiotic resistance monitoring programmes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest public health threats facing humanity.

Drug-resistant infections kill more than 1.2 million people every year worldwide, and the number is expected to reach 10 million by 2050 if action is not taken.

Lead researcher Juliana says: “Recent studies suggest that transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) bacteria between humans and animals, including pets, is critical in maintaining resistance levels, challenging the traditional belief that humans are the main transmitters of AMR bacteria.” Microbes in society. Menezes, quoted in the statement.

“Analyzing and understanding the transmission of AMR bacteria from pets to humans is essential to effectively combat antimicrobial resistance” in humans and animals, adds the doctoral student, from the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Animal Health, from the Faculty of Medicine. Veterinary Medicine at the University of Lisbon.

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The study included five cats, 38 dogs and 78 people in 43 homes in Portugal and 22 dogs and 56 people in 22 homes in the United Kingdom. All humans were healthy and all pets had skin, soft tissue or urinary tract infections.

Scientists tested fecal and urine samples and skin swabs from the animals and their owners to detect enterobacteria (a family of bacteria that includes Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae) that are resistant to common antibiotics.

The focus was on bacteria resistant to “third-generation cephalosporins” (one of the most important antibiotics, according to the World Health Organization) and “to carbapenems (part of the last line of defense when other antibiotics fail).”

According to the statement, “it was not possible to prove the direction of transmission,” but “in three of the homes in Portugal, the timing of positive tests for ESBL/AmpC-producing bacteria strongly suggests this, at least in these cases.” The bacteria were transmitted from pets to humans.

“Knowing more about resistance in pets would help develop informed and targeted interventions to advocate for animal and human health,” believes Juliana Menezes.

Petting, touching, kissing, and touching animal feces allows bacteria to pass between dogs, cats, and their owners. For this reason, researchers urge attention to washing hands after petting animals or handling their feces.

“When your pet is unwell, consider isolating it in a room to prevent the spread of bacteria throughout the house and cleaning the rest of the room well,” the researcher advises.

All dogs and cats were free of infection after treatment.

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