White ratAnother day, another new zoonotic disease concern.

Well, it’s not really that bad, but the list of new (or at least newly identified) zoonotic disease issues continues to expand at an impressive rate.

One of the latest concerns is a cluster of Seoul virus infections linked to rats. At last report, 8 infections with Seoul

HedgehogWhen I talk about hospital visitation animals, I often use hedgehogs as an example of a novelty critter that we want to keep out of high risk situations. They’re interesting, but is there any advantage f seeing a hedgehog vs interacting with a properly trained visitation dog? Probably not. When you add in the greater

Predicting the future is a dodgy proposition at the best of times. It’s particularly hard with infectious diseases, which tend not to behave as expected. Yet, it’s important to plan surveillance, education and response. One approach is to assess where certain types of problems are more likely to develop. That can help direct resources (time,

Animals are not uncommonly found in daycares and other childcare settings.

  • Sometimes, it’s good: animals can be entertaining, animal contact can have various benefits to children, and animals can be part of learning activities.
  • Other times, it’s not: such as the presence of species at higher risk for shedding certain pathogens, poor management that increases

The Public Health Agency of Canada, along with various partners (including the Worms&Germs team), has developed a set of informational postcards and a poster targeting pet owners and prospective pet owners.  They emphasize five critical steps for safe pet ownership and provide a visual reminder using infographic icons:

  • WASH (your hands)
  • DISINFECT (contaminated surfaces

All animals pose some risk of infection to people, to one degree or another, but the risk varies a lot between animal species. I guess I’ve always considered guinea pigs to be relatively benig, with a few zoonotic disease concerns but with bites probably being the biggest risk.

I still think that’s true, but a