Pets often become part of the family, but it is timely to learn about the diseases that pets can transmit to their owners before assuming the responsibility of having them and providing them with the care they deserve. In this article you will find useful information about it, so that you can take the necessary precautions and protect your loved ones.
Infections that are transmitted from animals to humans
Animals, like people, are carriers of germs and the most common diseases that result from them are distemper, canine parvovirus, heartworm or dirofilariosis but these are not transmissible to humans, only between members of the same species.
However, there are bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi present in pets that can infect humans through bites, scratches and direct contact with their saliva, dander and feces. In this sense, it is considered that pregnant women, children under five years of age and people with depressed immune systems are at greater risk of developing them.
What precautions should be taken with pets to avoid contagion?
Depending on the type of pet, its health status and the age of the people who will be in contact with it, preventive measures vary.
For example, children who have weakened immune systems from diseases such as HIV or cancer are more likely to get ringworm from infected dogs and cats, while infants with eczema should be kept away from aquariums and aquariums. Reptiles or amphibians are more suitable for families where there are no babies, young children or sick people.
Dogs and cats
Below, we offer you a list that contains the main diseases that dogs and cats can transmit to their owners:
- Campylobacteriosis: This is an infection that causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain in people.
- Cat scratch disease: causes inflammation, discomfort in the glands, fever, headache and fatigue.
- Rabies: it is rare and is eradicated by timely vaccination of the specimens.
- Ringworm: causes a round lesion on the skin, which becomes dry, scaly and surrounded by redness.
- Toxocariasis: it is caused by the eggs of a parasite present in the feces of animals and in people it causes fever, cough, regrowth of the liver, rash and swollen glands.
- Toxoplasmosis: it is an infection caused by a parasite present in the faeces of contaminated animals and although it does not show symptoms in healthy people, it implies a serious risk for pregnant women and babies.
If you have birds at home, these are the diseases you should be aware of to avoid getting infected:
- Cryptococcosis: this is a fungus present in the feces of birds and can cause pneumonia and meningitis in people with a weak immune system.
- Psittacosis: arises as a result of a bacterium that affects birds and is transmitted to people who are in contact with their feces or the dust present in the cages. It causes cough, fever and headache.
- Salmonella: It is common in poultry such as chickens and ducks.
Reptiles and amphibians
Animals such as lizards, lizards, turtles, frogs, toads and salamanders are not recommended for children under 5 years of age because they can infect them with salmonellosis.
This is an infection that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever. Very young children can be quite affected by the development of this disease, putting their lives at risk.
Rodent and fish species can transmit the following diseases to people who handle or care for them:
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis: contracted by contact with urine, feces or saliva of infected rodents and causes flu-like symptoms, as well as nausea and vomiting, with the possibility of leading to meningitis or encephalitis.
- Infection by mycobacterium marinum: it is contracted by being in contact with contaminated water from aquariums or swimming pools, through wounds or cuts in the skin. When it is mild, it affects only the skin but can be aggravated in people with a weak immune system.
Do you know what diseases you can get during a trip to the jungle? Take precautions so that your next vacation is not tarnished by health problems and enjoy this journey to the fullest.
What are tropical diseases?
Tropical diseases are all those that can be acquired in the tropics and correspond to infections that proliferate easily in the environmental conditions of this type of region, where heat and humidity are abundant.
In this sense, you can acquire tropical diseases during a trip to the jungle and its main reasons for spreading are related to environmental and biological factors such as the wide biodiversity of pathogens, vectors (animals that serve as a vehicle to transmit infections) and hosts.
However, there are some social factors that also influence the spread of tropical diseases, given that efforts to control this type of infection have been insufficient. An example of this is malaria, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and African trypanosomiasis.
What are the tropical diseases and infections that are most commonly acquired in the jungle?
If you want to know what kind of infections you would be prone to during your next trip to the jungle, take a look at the most common tropical diseases in tourists from these regions.
It is considered the leading cause of death in terms of infections worldwide, it occurs mainly in developing countries and spreads through people who travel from those nations to other parts of the world.
This is a chronic bacterial disease that is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, hence its name. It develops slowly and remains in the body for the long term.
The most prominent symptom is frequent coughing, which usually appears after the third week of infection or more and is accompanied by blood and chest pain.
This is an infectious and hematological disease that is generated by a plasmodium and is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, putting the life of the host at risk and making it possible to spread it to other people.
The symptoms of malaria are chills, sweating, high temperature fever, headache, vomiting and nausea.
Diarrhea as a tropical disease is caused by rotavirus and usually affects mainly young children. This virus is present in Bangladesh, Somalia, Rwanda and Nepal.
The most serious epidemics of diarrhea can trigger dysentery in the presence of the bacterium shigella gysenteriae, whose symptoms also include fever, vomiting and pain in the abdomen.
This disease is caused by leishmania parasites, which are spread through the bite of insects such as sand flies and can occur in three variants:
- Visceral leishmaniasis, most people die from this disease if it is not treated in time.
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis, generates skin lesions and ulcers in the most exposed areas, which can leave permanent scars and disability.
- Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, causes partial or total destruction of the mucous membranes present in the nose, mouth and throat.
These three variants of the tropical disease known as leishmaniosis usually occur in countries such as Brazil, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Peru.
How are these diseases diagnosed?
Blood, urine, throat, and stool tests are done to determine if a person has been infected with any of these diseases. Sometimes a lumbar puncture is required to obtain cerebrospinal fluid, biopsies or imaging studies such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to make the diagnosis.
How are tropical diseases treated?
Being infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, the treatment depends directly on its origin and can be any of the following methods:
Generally, these are prolonged treatments and frequent controls to ensure their effectiveness against the infection. Therefore, at the first symptom it is essential to go to a doctor to opt for a better prognosis against these diseases.
Although the CDC considers that the risk of contracting H5N1 influenza through wild and poultry birds is low, it is timely to inform you about how to prevent bird flu, to which we have dedicated this post.
What protective measures are recommended for birds?
In general, people should avoid contact with wild birds. This implies that the best prevention is to see them from afar when possible, in this regard the following should be considered:
- Wild birds can be infected with the avian influenza virus even if they do not look sick.
- If you raise or work with poultry, you should avoid having direct contact with them without using some type of protection, especially when they are dead or look sick.
- Avoid, as far as possible, contact with surfaces that may have been contaminated with animal saliva, including mucus and feces from wild or domestic birds.
The best prevention is to avoid sources of exposure
The best way to avoid getting the avian flu is to completely limit contact with sources of exposure. Contaminated birds carry the virus in their saliva, mucus, and feces.
Although it is rare for people to get avian influenza, it is not impossible, and in most cases the virus enters their bodies through the eyes, nose or mouth, including breathing.
In the latter case, contagion occurs because the virus is present in the air in the form of drops or dust and when the person breathes or touches a surface and then passes their hands through the eyes, nose and mouth, it allows it to enter the body. .
This type of contagion between birds and people usually occurs after close, prolonged contact without protection such as gloves, a suit or a mask, through the mechanisms that we explained before.
Protective measures for those who have had contact with birds infected with avian influenza at work
Those people who work with poultry are more exposed to contracting this virus, therefore it is essential that they use protective equipment that includes gloves, a mask and protective glasses or a face shield.
Additionally, it is essential to wash your hands correctly and frequently, especially after handling the birds. In the event that some of them are sick, it will be necessary to change clothes before establishing contact with healthy or wild ones to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some of the protection implements such as gloves and masks are disposable, so they must be disposed of correctly after each use.
Seasonal flu shots
From 6 months of age, people can be vaccinated annually against seasonal influenza, this is especially recommended for those who usually come into contact with birds and it is recommended to apply it at least two weeks before exposure.
Although getting vaccinated against seasonal influenza does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it has been shown that it does reduce the risk of being infected with both types of flu at the same time and, when applied early enough, strengthens the immune system of people so that they can recover faster.
Preventive measures against bird flu during travel
As a summary, below we list some of the main preventive measures to avoid getting this disease during a trip:
- Do not visit agricultural farms, markets or places where poultry is sold.
- Do not consume products derived from raw or precooked poultry meat.
- Maintain good hygiene and cleanliness habits.
- Consult a doctor if you get sick.
As you have been able to appreciate throughout the reading of this post, infected birds are not necessarily recognizable visually, but they can still carry the virus and infect you. Therefore, the best thing you can do during a trip is to avoid direct contact with them, whether they are alive or their meat in the form of food.
We have dedicated this article to explaining everything you need to know about zoonoses, the transmission of diseases between animals and humans, so that you are informed and can take the necessary precautions.
What is zoonosis?
With the term “zoonoses” we refer to all diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. In this sense, there are two types of zoonoses, which are determined according to their mode of transmission, namely:
- Direct zoonosis: in this case the diseases are transmitted between animals and humans through the exit, the air or bites.
- Indirect zoonosis: corresponds to the transmission of diseases between animals and humans through a species that functions as a vehicle and is known as a vector, precisely the one that carries the pathogenic agent that causes the disease.
How is zoonosis classified?
Although we have already seen that there are two types of zoonoses according to the way in which they are transmitted, it is appropriate to inform you that they are also classified according to the diseases they involve, according to the following:
- Viral zoonoses: includes diseases such as yellow fever, avian flu, Ebola, rabies, dengue, Zika and others.
- Bacterial zoonoses: includes diseases such as salmonellosis, tuberculosis, bubonic plague and others.
- Fungal zoonoses: includes diseases such as ringworm, cryptococcosis and histoplasmosis.
- Parasitic zoonoses: includes diseases transmitted by fleas such as anisakis, leishmaniasis, scabies and toxocariasis, among others.
What are the symptoms of zoonosis?
Considering that zoonosis is not a single disease but includes all those that can be transmitted between animals and people, the symptoms to manifest depend directly on the disease in question.
Although it is true that the same disease can affect a human differently compared to any other animal, in general its symptoms are quite similar.
What causes zoonosis?
The diseases that comprise zoonoses have their origin in the transmission of pathogenic agents between species of animals. Consequently, it is possible to acquire them by being in direct contact with these animals, consuming undercooked meat from them or food that has not been handled with the proper hygiene and safety techniques.
The spread of these diseases is also influenced by the modernization of agricultural practices in areas vulnerable to ecosystem destruction, human intervention, and climate changes that arise as a result of these activities.
It is essential to highlight that zoonosis is not only a public health hazard but can also generate significant losses in the economic sector, an example of this is when a large number of birds must be euthanized due to the detection of a flu outbreak avian.
Can zoonoses be prevented?
Taking into account that zoonoses are diseases that are transmitted between people and animals, it is possible to prevent them by avoiding contact with them. Likewise, it is essential to apply sanitary measures in terms of food handling.
Additionally, if you have pets such as dogs and cats, it is essential to control pests such as fleas and ticks to prevent the proliferation and transmission of these types of diseases. Currently, there are many products that are effective in treating these infestations and are available in a variety of presentations for the convenience of the user.
What is the treatment of zoonosis?
As with the symptoms, the treatment of a zoonotic disease depends on its particular characteristics.
It would be impossible to speak of a single treatment for the entire spectrum of diseases that zoonoses comprise, since each one has its own characteristics and are different from each other.
Keeping a safe distance from animals is the best way to avoid contagion by zoonoses. Now that you know the infections that you can acquire through other species, do not hesitate to consult a doctor at the slightest sign that something may be wrong with your health.