If you're not familiar with it already, MRSA is a bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics, dangerous because of, well, its drug resistance. The first cases in pets popped up about five years ago in therapy dogs exposed to patients or healthcare workers, but the tables could turn, putting humans in more danger any day.
Typically, humans usually infect pets (and not vice versa), but animals can serve as a reservoir for the bacteria and pass it back to humans. Healthy animals rid themselves of bacteria in a matter of weeks.
According to a study this Summer, Elizabeth A. Scott and colleagues at the Center For Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston swabbed household surfaces and found that one variable that overwhelmingly predicted the presence of the germ was the presence of a cat — they were eight times more likely than others to have MRSA at home.
To learn some tips to keep your human (and furry) family safe,
- Don't wash pet food or water bowls in the same sink at the same time your dishes are in it or where your food is prepared.
- Wash your hands or use antibacterial hand gels before and after playing with a pet or handling wastes and food.
- Don't let pets lick near your face or any cuts or sores, and be sure to keep your broken skin bandaged up.