- Always wash your hands thoroughly immediately, every time after touching your pets.
- Don’t bathe them in the sink or let them walk around where food and plates are placed.
- No matter how much you love them, don’t kiss them on the mouth
If you follow these preventative measures you can reduce your chances of contracting the following diseases:
Parasitic infections which can be passed on to people, such as roundworms, can easily be avoided by taking your pet for regular veterinary exams.
Although salmonella can be passed from any pet to humans, it is most common in reptiles such as snakes or lizards.
Toxoplasmosis is found in virtually all warm-blooded animals but cats make the perfect host for this parasite that causes the most serious infections. It is a threat to pregnant women (because it can cause severe harm to the fetus) and people with compromised immune systems so these individuals should not change the cat litter box.
Highly contagious to humans, Scabies is caused by mites. Symptoms include severe itching, skin irritation and hair loss in dogs as well as humans and should be treated as soon as possible to prevent secondary infections.
Cat scratch disease is a bacterial infection that causes swelling of the lymph nodes. It is typically the result of being scratched, licked, or bit by a cat — more than 90 percent of people who contract it had contact with cats or kittens.
And feathered friends can be just as dangerous as furry and scaly ones. Pet birds can transmit diseases such as:
- Psittacosis which causes flu-like symptoms of fever, chills and headache and if left untreated, can cause liver and kidney damage or even meningitis.
- Chlamydia, spread through feces and infectious particles in the air. Treatment for the infection includes the antibiotic, doxycycline.
- Histoplasmosis - A respiratory infection in people who inhale fungal spores from contaminated soil or dust
- Allergic Alveolitus – contracted by inhaling particles of bird dander in the air.
- Campylobacteriosis - A bacterial infection that causes gastrointestinal problems. It is usually transmitted through fecal contamination of food and water.
The risk of getting a disease from any pet is typically highest in people who already have chronic diseases, the very young, the elderly, HIV-infected individuals, organ-transplant recipients, and people receiving chemotherapy.