Zoonosis is the transmission of diseases from animals to people, directly or indirectly, and every year causes thousands of infections. In most cases it is about pathologies of bacterial origin, among which salmonellosis predominates, leading to gastroenteritis. One of the most common forms of infection is through food, if they have been directly in contact with pets or indirectly through an insect or tick carried by the animal. As the gastroenteritis and viral infections caused by food poisoning are usually mild, in almost no case is their origin determined, so that a relationship with pets is not officially established.
In these cases, it will be enough to take some preventive measures, such as Peel foods if they are eaten raw, cook them well, maximize hygiene in general, and do not break the cold chain. However, there are other animal-borne diseases that are more harmful to health and can lead to death due to the intake of toxins that destroy red cells, causing acute renal failure, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Owners must make sure before acquiring the animal that does not cause allergy. Contact with pets is another risk factor that can cause zoonosis, so it is also advisable to wash your hands after being with them if you distrust any type of allergy (in the case of the owners there should be no doubt in this regard). These precautions are aimed primarily at young children, since their immune system is weaker and they may not know whether or not they have an allergy, which it could cause skin ulcers, although in a low percentage of the child population.
Reptiles and rodents
There are isolated cases of collective zoonotic diseases caused by rare pets and sometimes they have jumped to the headlines of the press, such as fifteen teenagers affected by smallpox after acquiring rodents from Eastern Europe. This kind of ailments too they can be transmitted by cats if they are free and have the chance to hunt small prey, usually mice, that carry some type of viral infection.Bites favor the transmission of bacteria, causing inflammation and fever
Another common way of transmitting diseases by pets is through contact with their feces. Therefore, it is convenient clean reptile terrariums or bird cages with some frequency and always with protective gloves. Dry droppings are a constant source of disease transmission, mainly flu and pneumonia.
Wounds caused by animals
The scratches or bites of pets are also behind zoonosis. However small they may be, they favor the transmission of bacteria, causing inflammations, fevers and malaise in general. Most dogs and cats are carriers of the bacteria called pasteurella multocida, which usually inhabit the mouth of pets and with the bites the microorganism is transmitted to the wound and a few hours later it causes swelling. That is why sometimes a slight scratch or disproportionate skin effects may appear. One of the most common forms of infection is through food
This inflammatory process can penetrate deep layers of the skin causing the death of certain tissues. If it is complicated, it can be the cause of arthritis, sinusitis or pleurisy. In these cases, the treatment must be immediate and consists of an antibiotic-based medication. At first, to avoid reaching this point, it is recommended disinfect the wound with soap and water, in addition to some antiseptic. These same measures should be taken if an infected wound of the pet has to be cured, since they could transmit bacteria such as staphylococci or streptococci, especially dangerous for people with few immune defenses.
What are the best known zoonoses
- Hydatidosis It is transmitted by a type of Equinococcus granulosus worms. These parasites can be found in the intestines of animals and transmitted to humans through contaminated objects or feces. It is a serious problem since they can cause hydatid cysts in different organs such as the liver and cause serious damage to health. “Although it is one of the zoonoses that most concern us, its prevention is very simple. Simply deworm the animal correctly, ”recalls Baciero.
- Rage. It is the oldest known viral zoonosis. It is caused by a type of virus. It produces serious neurological damage and respiratory arrest. Vaccine prevention is key to stop this disease. An animal that suffers from rabies can transmit it to the human by biting.
- Leishmaniasis Disease transmitted by the females of some mosquitoes called sandflies that, by sucking the blood, inoculate leishmania. Leismaniosis can manifest itself with wounds that do not heal, inflammation of the liver and spleen, and kidney and liver failure. The use of pipettes and collars is essential to avoid insect bites. There is a very small possibility that the same mosquito that infects the dog transmits the disease to the person. But it can happen that the mosquito bites the person (although there is no animal at home), ”he says
- ToxoplasmosisIt is caused by a parasite, the Toxoplasma gondii, It can be transmitted through the feces of animals such as cats. It is especially dangerous if it affects the pregnant woman as it can cause damage and malformations to the fetus. To prevent this disease it is necessary to maintain good hygiene of the animal's cabin, as well as to avoid direct contact with feces.
- Bartonellosis It is a disease transmitted by a bacterium known as Bartonella henselae It can be transmitted by the scratch or bite of a cat. In humans it can cause fever and painful inflammations.
Tick-borne diseases such as babesiosis,Lyme disease, anaplasmosis or ehrlichiosis They are very serious for your pet, so bite should be prevented with prophylactic measures. In addition, they can also cause problems for people. Although there are some types of ticks, especially the type Hyalomma lusitanicum, They do have a preference for us and their bite can be deadly.
How contagion occurs
When a parasite tries to invade the organism of any individual>
The best resources to deworm pets are the use of necklaces Y pipettes, containing active ingredients that extend through the hair of animals, and the administration of oral drugs They eliminate internal parasites, such as tapeworms, worms. “Although they are chemical substances, they are perfectly controlled and antiparasitic agents, if used correctly, are not toxic. In high doses, as with any medication, or due to misuse, it can cause toxicity, but the safety doses are very high. For example, if a dog swallows a collar it can cause digestive problems. If the contents of a pipette contact the eyes can cause irritation, etc.. In some animals they can produce a slight allergy. In that case, we will have to find the right product. But you should never stop using them, since we can compromise the health of our pet, ”he warns.
They are also not toxic to us, but we must take a series of precautions when administering them, such as wearing gloves or washing our hands immediately.
Tips to protect pets
In addition to the use of products to prevent the bite of mosquitoes, ticks or fleas, we must also consider these aspects to protect the health of our friends:
- When a pet is adopted or purchased, it must be taken to the veterinarian for proper sanitary and deworming control. In many cases, the protective association, kennel or the breeder will have already carried out a first check, but it is advisable to go to our trusted veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Whenever stool is collected, it must be done with protection, and thrown away, never into the drain or toilet.
- It is convenient to avoid, in the med> В © ВЎHOLA! The total or partial reproduction of this report and its photographs is prohibited, even citing their origin.
How is it spread?
One of the most widespread myths about this disease is its route of infection. Contrary to popular belief, leishmaniosis is not spread to humans by direct contact with the dog. “It's a fairly common mistake. It is believed that by having a dog at home with leishmaniasis, by touching or petting it, it is spread, but it is not so. This disease is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito called Phlebotomus perniciosus. That mosquito has previously bitten an infected sick animal, has been infected and when itching a human being again transmits the disease”, He clarifies.
López-Vélez points out that currently in Spain there are certain population groups that are more likely to receive the bite of this Phelebotomus perniciosus:
Approximately 30 or 40 percent of cases affect the immunocompetent, that is, the healthy population. "Within patients who are immunocompetent, the mosquito has more predilection for men than for women and for some ethnic groups, such as sub-Saharan Africans. ”
60 percent of cases of leishmaniasis manifests in patients with low defenses, immunosuppressed patients. It is the patients with transplants, those who are taking immunosuppressive therapy, corticosteroids and especially patients taking anti-TNF, very frequent medications in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and other diseases. Also included in this percentage are patients who have HIV.
"We consider that only 1 in 50 infected will develop the disease. I'm probably infected with Leishmania, but I don't develop the disease. On the other hand, if I was immunocompromised and infected, it could happen that the disease manifested itself immediately in case of infection or that if I had it dormant, asleep, it could be reactivated, ”he says.
Measures to control and prevent disease
The best way to preventing leishmaniasis is to prevent mosquitoes from biting us and taking good care of animals, especially to dogs, the main reservoir of the parasite (remember that there is no contagion dog-dog or dog-man, occurs through the bite of a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected animal and then us).
For humans there is no prophylaxis or vaccines, so all measures aimed at preventing bites would be the only way to protect ourselves against this disease. “If we prevent the disease in the dog through the vaccine, collars or insecticides applied to the skin, the dog will not suffer the disease and humans will not suffer it either, because the reservoir is over. So that preventing disease in dogs prevents future disease in humans, that's why we always talk about the concept One health, because everything goes together: animal health, human health and the environment, ”says López-Vélez.
From the Official College of Veterinarians of Madrid also indicate that this disease in dogs is chronic and incurable, so they recommend, in addition to the measures indicated by López-Vélez:
- Periodically apply repellent and insecticide products on the booths.
- Avoid, as far as possible, that animals sleep outdoors, given the mosquito's nocturnal activity.
- Do not abandon pets.