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 animals.
  • They should avoid direct contact with diarrhea or any stool from pets, particularly stray pets or dogs and cats less then six months of age.
  • Gloves should be worn when handling stool or cleaning areas that might have been contaminated with stool from pets.
  • Contact with calves or lambs (e.g. on farms or at petting zoos) should be limited or avoided. Attention should be paid to hygiene and avoiding direct contact with animal manure when visiting such premises.
  • Contact with reptiles, chicks and ducklings should be avoided because of the risk of Salmonella.

So, nothing earth-shattering or nothing we and others have not been saying all along. That’s because basic measures, while not flashy, are the most useful tools. Use common sense, avoid contact with stool and high risk animals, and above all wash your hands.