Sadly pet ownership comes with risksMarch 13, 2012
Maryn McKenna over at SUPERBUG has got a post up discussing a recent paper (see below) that looked at 3 cases of (human) infection with Pasteurella multocida. In all 3 cases it is thought that the patients involved caught the bacteria from nursing their sick pets.
Pasteurella multocida is a nasty species of bacteria and infection with it can very easily be fatal in humans. Human cases are mostly associated with scratches and bites from cats and dogs (P. multocida can and does live happily in their mouths without causing any problems to them). However, in the cases published in the paper the transmission from animal to human seems to be effectively from mouth to mouth, rather than via injection through the skin as would happen with a bite.
It’s a very sad reminder that whilst pet ownership has many many benefits, we shouldn’t ignore the risks.
Myers EM, Ward SL, Myers JP. Life-threatening respiratory pasteurellosis associated with palliative pet care. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Mar;54(6):e55-7. Epub 2012 Jan 11. DOI: 10.1093/cid/cir975 (May be behind paywall)