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Dogs and cats can transmit antibiotic-resistant bacteria to their owners. The reverse situation is also possible

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As described by “The Guardian”, German researchers analyzed several hundred samples from people and their pets. It turned out that dogs and cats can suffer from the same antibiotic-resistant microbes as their owners.

Dogs and cats can transmit antibiotic-resistant microbes to their owners, according to a new study presented this weekend at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen. Moreover, this scheme can also work the other way around.

Mysterious MDRO

As we read in an article published in “The Guardian”, the world is increasingly hearing about the problem of the role of pets as potential reservoirs of MDRO microbes – bacteria that are difficult to treat even with several antibiotics at the same time. According to the estimates of the authors of the report “Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance”, which was published last year in the scientific journal “Lancet”, infections with these microbes killed 1.3 million people in 2019 alone.

The research reported by The Guardian was carried out by a team of scientists led by Dr Carolin Hackmann from the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany. Over 2.8 thousand patients with animals took part in them.

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Dog and cat – illustrative photoShutterstock

Study details

The team took swabs from the study participants. The samples were tested to identify bacterial species, including drug-resistant ones. It found that about 30 percent of the patients tested positive for MDRO. Of this group, 11 percent lived with dogs and 9 percent lived with cats. So the researchers asked the participants to collect and send them swab samples obtained from the animals. In this way, they received about 300 zoonotic data.

Their analysis showed that as many as 15 percent of dogs and 5 percent of cats also carried at least one type of MDRO. In four cases, it was found that both in man and in his animal microbes belonged to the same species and were equally resistant to antibiotics.

Whole genome sequencing confirmed that only one of the matching pairs was genetically identical between the dog and its owner.

“While the level of sharing between hospital patients and their pets in our study is quite low, carriers can be a source of bacterial emissions in their environments for months and cause infections in other more vulnerable people arriving in hospitals, such as people with weakened immune systems.” very young or elderly people, Hackmann said.

As the scientists emphasized, the risk of cross-infection with dangerous pathogens is currently low.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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