Pets: are you aware of some of the risks to human health?

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You love your pets and consider them part of your family. They offer you comfort, companionship, and love. There are a number of health benefits that  your pet offer, but as we all know, they can also spread infections and cause disease in humans. In this article, we will discuss some potential risk associated with human health from your beloved pets.

Campylobacteriosis

Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in humans, affecting millions of people each year. The infection that occurs with the Campylobacter bacteria is called campylobacteriosis. Common symptoms appear within 2 to 5 days after infection are abdominal pain, fever, and cramps.

Humans become infected with this bacterium not only from contaminated food such as eggs, water, and meat but also from the feces of infected animals, including cats and dogs. In a survey, it is found that 45% of stray cats shed this bacterium in their feces. This infection is not life-threatening, but it can severely affect young children and the elderly.

Rabies

The most dangerous viral disease that can affect humans is rabies. Humans can contract this disease from cats and dogs, and it can kill nearly 59,000 people worldwide yearly.

Rabies is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. It can affect humans' nervous system, causing symptoms such as headaches, fever, and weakness at the start. When the virus reaches the human nervous system, it causes hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety, difficulty swallowing, and partial and total paralysis. Death usually occurs after these symptoms appear. If a person is bitten by an infected animal, they should seek medical attention immediately.

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite. It is most commonly transmitted to humans through contaminated and undercooked meat and through infected feces of animals including dogs and cats. Toxoplasma infection can spread through skin infection, it can also infect humans if they accidentally ingest the parasites.

In research, it was found that in the United States alone, Toxoplasmosis had affected more than 60 million people. Common symptoms that appear are muscle aches, swollen glands, and body aches. In severe infections, the brain and other organs such as the ears and eyes are damaged. Young children, pregnant women, and older people with weak immune systems are at high risk.

In conclusion, pets can transmit a couple of diseases to humans, so the best strategy is to keep your pet vaccinated. If you find any symptoms take your pet to the vet immediately.

October 24, 2020 — Esther Adelodun

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