Study: Dogs, cats share resistant bacteria, resistance genes with owners
Observational research set to be presented later this month at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) suggests close contact with pets could result in sharing of multidrug-resistant bacteria and resistance genes.
For the study, researchers from the University of Lisbon in Portugal and the Royal Veterinary College collected fecal samples from healthy companion animals (CAs, specifically dogs and cats) and their owners from 41 households in Portugal and 42 households in the United Kingdom at monthly intervals for 4 months.
They screened fecal samples for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales or Acinetobacter spp. and for extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) or plasmid-mediated AMPc (pAMPc) genes.
No carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales or Acinetobacter were found, but 15 of 103 CAs (14.6%) and 15 of 112 humans (13.2%) harbored ESBL/pAMPc-producing Enterobacterales (ESBL-E). Of these, 7 CAs (6 in Portugal and one in the United Kingdom) and 5 household members (4 in Portugal and 1 in the United Kingdom) carried at least one multidrug-resistant strain.
In four Portuguese households, the ESBL/pAMPc resistance genes found in pets matched those in their owner's stool samples. In three of these households, matched resistance genes were only recovered at one time point, but in one household, sharing of strains was noted at two consecutive timepoints, suggesting a persistent colonization of shared bacteria within the household.
In addition, in two of the households, the microbes in pets matched Escherichia coli strains in their owner's stool sample, but in the other two, there was no evidence of bacteria sharing.
"Although the level of sharing from the households we have studied is low, healthy carriers can shed bacteria into their environment for months, and they can be a source of infection for other more vulnerable people and animals such as the elderly and pregnant women," study coauthor Juliana Menezes, PhD, of the University of Lisbon, said in an ECCMID press release.
"Our findings reinforce the need for people to practice good hygiene around their pets and to reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics in companion animals and people."
Apr 5 ECCMID abstract
Apr 5 ECCMID press release
H5N6 avian flu hospitalizes man in China
China has reported another H5N6 avian flu infection, with an illness reported in a 28-year-old man from Henan province in the central part of the country.
In a statement, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said investigators found the man had contact with poultry before he got sick. His symptoms began on Mar 18, and he was hospitalized the next day, where he is listed in critical condition.
The man's illness marks China's 11th H5N6 case of the year. So far, it has reported 75 cases since the virus was first detected in humans in 2014.
H5N6 circulates in poultry in a few Asian countries, but only China and Laos have reported human cases. The infections are most common in adults who have contact with poultry and are often severe or fatal.
Apr 6 CHP statement