An infectious superbug capable of being passed from pets to humans is on the rise and becoming increasingly problematic.
It was only a few years ago when scientists suspected that the bacteria was being transmitted by pets.
The superbug, a strain of bacteria known as MRSA, has evolved a resistance to antibiotics. It has long plagued hospitals but in recent years has become more common in homes. MRSA has even invaded beaches.
In the July edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Richard Oehler of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and colleagues lay out the latest thinking on MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and pets.
The infections can be transmitted by animal bites and most threaten young children, the researchers note.
“As community-acquired strains of MRSA increase in prevalence, a growing body of clinical evidence has documented MRSA colonization in domestic animals, often implying direct acquisition of S aureus infection from their human owners,” they write. “MRSA colonization has been documented in companion animals such as horses, dogs, and cats, and these animals have been viewed as potential reservoirs of infection.”
“Proper treatment of dog and cat bites should involve treatment of the immediate injury (whether superficial or deep) and then management of the risk of acute infection, including washing with high pressure saline if possible, and antibiotics in selected cases,” the researchers suggest.
The superbug infects through open cuts, not only dog bites. The key to preventing infection is the proper care and treatment of any open wound.