Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: immunocompromised

Immunocompromised People and Their Pets

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Other animals, Pocket pets, Reptiles
This month’s edition of the Internal Medicine Journal contains an article entitled High rates of potentially infectious exposures between immunocompromised patients and their companion animals: an unmet need for education (Gurry et al. 2017). The study is fairly superficial and there’s nothing particularly surprising in the paper, with results similar to what has been reported in… Continue Reading

Do headline writers actually read the articles?

Posted in Dogs
Part I Lyme disease is accompanied by enough paranoia. Bad headlines don’t help. A recent article on The Daily Mail is about Lyme disease and pets. It’s actually not a bad article, outlining some important issues. However, the headline shows a big disconnect between some good content in the article and a complete misunderstanding of… Continue Reading

Pets and peritoneal dialysis

Posted in Cats
I’m not a big fan of the title of a paper in the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology…”Pets are ‘risky business’ for patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis” (Yahya et al 2013), even though it’s an interesting paper that actually takes a reasonable approach to zoonotic disease risk… Continue Reading

New bugs, same story

Posted in Dogs
A colleague recently let me know about an article in the journal Infection Ecology and Epidemiology entitled “Human wound infectious caused by Nesseria animaloris and Neisseria zoodegmatis, former CDC Group EF-4a and EF-4b" (Heydecke et al 2013). These are new bugs to me… The article outlines an effort to characterize these bacteria from people with… Continue Reading

Another dog-eats-toe story

Posted in Dogs
It’s maybe a sad statement that reading about someone whose diseased toes were gnawed off by their dog doesn’t shock me anymore. It’s not an everyday event but it’s far from rare. An Indiana man learned about this the hard way when he woke up thinking his dog was licking his toes, when in fact,… Continue Reading

MRSP infection in a person

Posted in Dogs
“Is MRSP zoonotic?” That’s a question I get all the time. MRSP (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius) is a canine staph (a bacterium) to which people are exposed all the time. Yes, it can infect people, but only very rarely, particularly when you consider how often they’re exposed. Nonetheless, human MRSP infections can occur. My typical answer… Continue Reading

Rudolph inquiry in Scotland

Posted in Other animals
Santa gives the reindeer a few months off every year, so inevitably they’re going to cause trouble. A health board inquiry is under way after a young reindeer was taken into a Glasgow Children’s Hospital and allowed to interact with patients. The reindeer fawn, from a local reindeer farm, was paraded around the hospital grounds… Continue Reading

Rat bite fever in a person with HIV/AIDS

Posted in Pocket pets
A recent report in the journal Infection (Chean et al. 2012) describes rat bite fever in a patient with AIDS. I’ve written about rat bite fever before, and it’s not really a surprising case report. Streptobacillus moniliformis, the bug that causes the disease, is found in the mouths of most rats (and in the mouths… Continue Reading

Bordetella bronchiseptica infection in a cancer patient…kitten suspected as source

Posted in Cats
A paper in the Journal of Neurooncology (Redelman-Sidi et al, 2011) describes "kitten-transmitted Bordetella bronchiseptica infection" in a cancer patient. The patient in question had a brain tumour that was surgically removed. The 56-year-old man was then started on chemotherapy, which in addition to killing cancer cells can also cause significant impairment of the immune… Continue Reading

MRSA transmission between hamster and human

Posted in Pocket pets
The more we look, the more we find when it comes to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). As people start looking for it in different animal species, it’s often found. We’ve found it in many species already, including dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, walruses, dolphins and alpacas, so it’s not a big surprise to see a recent… Continue Reading

Dog bite death

Posted in Dogs
A 35-year-old UK man has died following a seemingly innocuous dog bite. He was nipped by the family’s pet dog, not during an aggressive incident but just a playful, boisterous dog. Later, he developed a fever.  He saw a doctor the next day and was told that he had influenza based on his clinical signs,… Continue Reading

Dog as scalpel…maybe effective but not recommended

Posted in Dogs
What happens when you combine a festering toe wound, a doctor-averse person, a dog and a lot of alcohol. Well, I guess you get Jerry Douthett and his dog Kiko, a Jack Russel who is being called a "lifesaver" for gnawing off Jerry’s infected toe. Apparently Mr. Douthett had what he believed was a small… Continue Reading

Putting “One Medicine” into action

Posted in Dogs
People like to talk about the "one medicine" concept. It’s a great concept, but my big issue with it is there’s a lot of talk but not a lot of action. One way of thinking about "one medicine" in terms of people and pets is to focus on the health of the entire household as… Continue Reading

Watch out for rabbit pee

Posted in Other animals
Urine from healthy animals is typically considered to be of little to no risk to people. This is generally true, at least for the otherwise healthy human population, but like with most things in infectious diseases, there are exceptions. An interesting one in rabbits is a bug called Encephalitozoon cuniculi. This microorganism (now classified as… Continue Reading

Clostridium difficile in the household environment

Posted in Cats, Clostridium difficile, Dogs
Another study we presented at the recent European Conference of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases was about Clostridium difficile in the household environment. In the study, we collected samples from various locations and surfaces in households, as well as five fecal samples (one per day) from pets, and tested them for C. difficile. Some of… Continue Reading

Rhodococcus equi in horses and people

Posted in Horses
Rhodococcus equi is a very well recognized pathogen in horses – it is a common cause of pneumonia in foals between the ages of 1-6 months, and infection is also sometimes associated with other problems such as diarrhea, swollen joints and abscesses in other parts of the body. The infection can be very difficult to… Continue Reading

CDC recommendations for people with HIV

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases, Reptiles, Salmonella
The latest edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)‘s publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports consists of the revised Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Among the highlights relevant to pets: HIV-infected patients should be advised to wash their hands after handling pets or other… Continue Reading

No spleen, no pets?

Posted in Other diseases
The spleen is an important part of the immune system. It is especially important for fighting off certain types of infections. People who have had their spleen removed or whose spleen is not working properly are therefore at greater risk of some infectious diseases. The risk of infection is highest in the first few years… Continue Reading

Baby accidents and dog baths

Posted in Cats, Dogs
Recently I was having a discussion with a reporter about cleaning and disinfection, and the reported mentioned that her child had pooped in the bathtub the other day. My response was "mine too", since coincidentally, my 17-month-old daughter did the same thing on the same day. We  discussed about what to do with the bathtub,… Continue Reading

Dog Bite Septicemia – Capnocytophaga canimorsus

Posted in Dogs
Lots of people have heard of cat scratch fever (an infection caused by Bartonella henselae, which is often transmitted by cat scratches and bites), but dog bite septicemia is a much less familiar condition, although it is equally if not more serious when it occurs. As the name suggests, the infection (caused by the bacterium… Continue Reading

Neurological bunnies: Encephalitozoon cuniculi

Posted in Other animals, Other diseases
Encephalitozoon spp. are single-celled microsporidian parasites that can cause infection in the intestinal tract of animals and people, and sometimes infection in other parts of the body (systemic infection). Cases of infection with these parasites (encephalitozoonosis) have been reported in countries all over the world. The species E. bieneusi and E. intestinalis are the most… Continue Reading