Zoonotic Disease: What Can I Catch from My Cat?

Although most feline infectious diseases only affect cats, some of these diseases can be transmitted from cats to people. Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people are called zoonotic diseases. While not comprehensive, this article highlights the most common zoonotic diseases that may be carried by cats and dim-witted precautions you can take to reduce your risk of contracting these diseases. For more information about specific risks, diagnosis, and treatment of zoonotic diseases, contact your physician/health master .
WHAT’S THE RISK?
The likelihood of an average person contracting a zoonotic disease from a kat is gloomy, but individuals with unfledged or weakened immune systems are more susceptible to these diseases. This includes infants, individuals with assume immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS ), the aged, and people undergoing cancer chemotherapy or receiving early drugs that may suppress their immune systems .
COMMON FELINE ZOONOTIC DISEASES

Bacterial Infections
Cat scratch disease (CSD) is caused by a bacteria called Bartonella henselae, which may be carried in the saliva of infect cats and in the bodies of guy fleas. As the name implies, this bacterial infection is normally transmitted from kat to homo via scratches, although it can besides be transmitted via bite wounds and when a big cat licks the open wounds of a person. Among cats, this bacteria is most normally transmitted by the bites of infect vomit fleas, and it may besides be found in the feces of these fleas, which can serve as sources of infection if exposed to an open wind in either a computerized tomography or a homo .
People with CSD normally develop swelling and possibly a blister at the site of the bite or scratch. Lymph nodes in the region of the wreathe may swell and become afflictive, and affect individuals may experience fever, headache, huffy muscles and joints, fatigue, and poor appetite. Healthy adults generally recover with no lasting effects, but it may take several months for the disease to go away wholly. People with compromise immune systems may suffer more hard consequences, including infections of the eyes, brain, and heart. austere cases of CSD may require antibiotic therapy to resolve.

approximately 40 percentage of cats are infected with Bartonella henselae, but most show no signs of disease. Antibiotics do not faithfully remedy infection in these cats and are not presently recommended. For humans, avoiding scratches and bites ( for exercise, by not allowing children to play roughly with cats ), washing hands after playing with cats, controlling fleas, and keeping cats indoors all reduce the risk of CSD. Because most cases of CSD result from contact with kittens under one year of age, immunocompromised people should avoid such contact .
Pasteurella multocida is a bacteria found in the mouths of between 70 and 90 percentage of cats, and it has been found in between 50 and 80 percentage of cat-o’-nine-tails bites in humans that become serious enough to seek medical attention. Cat bites infected with this organism may develop pain, swelling, and inflammation at the wound locate within 24 to 48 hours. Pasteurella-infected cat bite wounds are successfully treated with antibiotic therapy in the huge majority of cases, but more unplayful complications, such as the spread of bacteria through the blood current and infection of heart valves, may occur in rare cases .
Salmonella poisoning, besides called salmonellosis, is caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella, and can lead to diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain beginning one to three days after contagion. People normally condense salmonellosis by eating contaminated food, such as undercooked chicken or eggs, but it is possible to condense the disease from infect cats, which can carry Salmonella bacteria and pass them in their stool. Although salmonellosis normally resolves on its own, some individuals require medical attention to address severe diarrhea or the effects of the contagion on organs other than the digestive tract .
salmonella is more normally found in cats that feed on crude kernel or wild birds and animals, so owners can reduce the gamble of salmonellosis in themselves and their cats by keeping cats indoors and feeding them cooked or commercially processed food. Wearing gloves when cleaning litterboxes or garden ( in casing outdoor cats have defecated in the dirty ) and washing hands thoroughly after these activities is besides recommended .
parasitic Infections
Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats, and their bites can cause itch and excitement in humans and cats alike. Fleas may besides serve as vectors for CSD and early zoonotic diseases. Flea-infested cats may become infect with tapeworms from fleas ingested while grooming. While not coarse, people can besides become septic with tapeworms by unwittingly ingesting fleas .
Scabies, or infection by the mange mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is another zoonotic external parasite of the skin of cats. While not a common as flea infestations, these mites can be passed from infect cats to people, where they burrow into the clamber and cause antsy, raised lesions. treatment in people normally involves the practice of topical ointments to decrease itch, diligent treatment of infectious pets, and careful clean of clothes and bed .
Certain feline intestinal parasites, including roundworms (Toxocara) and hookworms (Ancylostoma), can besides cause disease in people. Children are particularly at hazard due to their higher likelihood of contact with soil that has been contaminated by vomit feces. Although most people infected with feline intestinal parasites do not show signs of illness, some people may get disgusted .
Visceral larva migrans, a potentially serious disease that can affect versatile organs, results from consumption of Toxocara eggs ( for case, when soiled fingers are placed in the mouth ). Toxocara larva may then migrate to abdominal organs, including the liver, or to the central anxious system. Symptoms of intuitive larva migrans may include fever, tire, cough, asthmatic, and abdominal pain. ocular larva migrans is the term used for a discipline in which Toxocara larva migrate to the eye, causing ocular disturbances, abnormal eye movements, or eye pain and discomfort .
cutaneous larva migrans, an antsy clamber disease, is caused by contact with territory contaminated with Ancylostoma larva. These larva may penetrate and migrate under the hide, with attendant inflammation, itching and pain, and raised, crimson linear lesions in the skin that follow the larva ’ second migration. Proper hygiene, including washing hands before meals, cleaning soil from vegetables, and reducing exposure to cat feces can prevent contagion. Anti-parasite medications for kittens and annual faecal exams for adult cats can reduce environmental contamination and the risk of human infection.

Fungal Infections
Ringworm (or dermatophytosis) is not caused by a worm at all. Rather, it is a hide infection caused by a group of fungi. Infected cats most frequently come from environments house boastfully numbers of animals. In cats, ringworm normally appears as a dry, gray, lepidote while on the skin. In humans, tinea often appears as a round, red, antsy wound with a call of scale around the border. Lesions may be found in a assortment of places, including the scalp, the feet ( where ’ s its referred to as “ athlete ’ second foot ” ), the groin, or the beard. Ringworm is transmitted by contact with an infect animal ’ s skin or fur, either directly or from a contaminated environment. Infected cats endlessly spend fungal spores from their bark and fur. These spores, which remain able of causing infection for many months, are unmanageable to eradicate from a family. Children are particularly at risk of infection. Treatment involves the function of either topical antifungal ointments or oral fungicidal medicine, depending upon the austereness and location of lesions. To reduce environmental contaminant, restrict infected cats to one room until they are exempt of infection, then thoroughly clean and disinfect the family .
Protozoal Infections
Protozoans are single-celled organisms. The three most coarse protozoal diseases in cats and humans are cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, and toxoplasmosis .
Cryptosporidiosis can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and dehydration in both cats and people. Either direct or indirect contact with the feces of cats infected with Cryptosporidium organisms can lead to transmission of this disease. As with most other zoonotic diseases, immunocompromised individuals are at the greatest gamble of infection. To prevent the spread of contagion, schedule annual faecal examinations for your cats, and medicate infect cats as directed by your veterinarian. early preventive measures include wearing gloves while handling feces-contaminated fabric and washing hands afterwards .
Giardiasis is caused by infection with the microscopic leech Giardia. Many animal species ( including the cat-o’-nine-tails ), are susceptible to infection with Giardia, which is passed in the feces and normally spread to other animals and humans via pollute water sources, surfaces, or in uncooked food items. The symptoms of Giardia infection include diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal cramps, nausea, and dehydration. A number of prescription drugs are available to treat this condition, and most people that are infected make an uneventful recovery. It is authoritative to realize that the majority of cases of giardiasis in people do not occur as a leave of contagion by cats, but rather by ingesting water or food contaminated by grow animals or wildlife .
Toxoplasmosis is caused by the parasitic protozoal Toxoplasma gondii. People with attenuate immune systems and infants whose mothers are infected during pregnancy can develop dangerous illness from this leech. Most people infected with Toxoplasma, however, show no overt signs of disease .
Cats can acquire Toxoplasma by eating septic rodents, birds, or anything contaminated with feces from another infected animal. An infect big cat can shed the leech in its feces for up to two weeks. once shed in the feces, the leech must mature for one to five days before it becomes capable of causing infection. however, it can persist in the environment for many months and continue to contaminate dirt, water, gardens, sandboxes, or any target where an infect cat has defecated. Although meaning women or immunosuppressed individuals are often advised to remove cats from the family to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis, direct liaison with cats is very improbable to spread infection with this organism .
Cats can transmit Toxoplasma to people through their feces, but humans most normally become infected by eating undercooked or crude kernel, or by unwittingly consuming contaminated territory on unwashed or undercooked vegetables. The symptoms of toxoplasmosis include flu-like muscle aches and fever, and headache. In rare cases, more advance symptoms such as confusion, seizures, vomiting, or diarrhea may be observed .
basic hygiene can prevent the spread of Toxoplasma from cats to humans. Wear gloves when handling potentially contaminated material ( for model, when gardening or scooping the litterbox ), and be sure to wash your hands afterwards. Cover children ’ mho sandboxes when not in manipulation to prevent wandering cats from defecating in them.

fraught women or immunosuppressed individuals are safest when other family members clean the litter box .
viral Infections
Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through the bite of an septic animal. Although most viruses infect only their natural host species, rabies is an important exception. Cats are highly susceptible to rabies, which attacks the central nervous system, causing a variety of signs. Rabies is about constantly black. In people, rabies infections normally occur when an infected animal bites a person. In order to protect homo health, rabies inoculation of cats is required by law in many areas. even if your cat is keep indoors, it is important to keep rabies vaccines current because cats occasionally escape outdoors, and because rabid animals such as bats and raccoons occasionally enter houses. To further reduce your risk of rabies, avoid touch with wildlife and isolated animals and see a doctor immediately if you have been bitten by an animal .
Updated March 2017

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