Healthy dogs and cats could be passing on multidrug-resistant organisms to hospitalised owners. In addition, humans could be transmitting these dangerous microbes to their pets, according to new research to be presented at this weekend’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen. However, the researchers stressed that the risk of cross-infection is currently low.
The study of more than 2,800 hospital patients and their companion animals was carried out by Dr Carolin Hackmann from Charité University Hospital Berlin, Germany, and colleagues. “Our findings verify that the sharing of multidrug-resistant organisms between companion animals and their owners is possible,” she told the conference.
The role of pets as potential reservoirs of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) – bacteria that resist treatment with more than one antibiotic – is a growing concern worldwide. It happens when infection-causing microbes evolve to become resistant to the drug designed to kill them. Estimates suggest that antimicrobial resistant infections caused almost 1.3 million deaths and were associated with nearly 5 million deaths around the world in 2019.
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