Super-infection MRSA Now in Pets, Docs Say

October 31, 2007 | By Matt Van Hoven | 256 comments
Tags: mrsa, sickness, health

According to vets, the super-infection commonly known as MRSA has been found in a number of household pets.

The staph-infection has mostly been seen in humans in the last few months, and a number of deaths have resulted from the outbreak. It's highly resistant to traditional anti-biotics, making the disease difficult to treat.

Veterinary Dr. Patrick McDonough from Cornell University says the disease spreads from humans to animals – a phenomenon called reverse zoonosis.

Capable of both colonizing and infecting its victims, MRSA can lay dormant, without any indication of its presence. In its dormant state, it can be transmitted to another human or animal, where it can then activate.

Concerns that animals carrying the disease could increase the human incidence of infection are real. Many animals work as service pets in hospitals, often in close quarters with patients – posing a serious threat to immuno-deficient patients.

There is treatment for MRSA, but docs say prevention is the key to surviving it. Basic hygiene, lots of hand washing, and using your own towel will keep most of us safe. It commonly manifests itself as boils on the skin or an ear infection. Get to your doctor as soon as possible if you or your pet has any of those symptoms. Remember, if your pet has it, you probably do too, and visa versa.

Comments (144)

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Mary G.
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Mary G.
5 years ago

This story simply does not provide enough information about MRSA in humans and in animals to be really useful or informative. Just raises questions.

Good Point | Reply ›

Barbara K.
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Barbara K.
6 years ago

This is a scary problem. I thought it was just in people which is scary enough. Now we have to worry about our pets too!

Good Point | Reply ›

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