The presence of SARS-COV-2 in cats and dogs has caught the attention of scientists. Many scientists have been researching whether the pets can transmit other pathogens, such as drug-resistant bacteria, to human beings.
Effects of multidrug-resistant organisms crossing from pets to humans
A puppy had exhibited some signs of the coronavirus in North Carolina after three people from the family that owned it had tested positive for the disease. There were concerns about whether the pup had contracted the disease or not. However, after testing samples, the results were negative, but other pets in the same household had tested positive for the virus. It was a great concern for the scientists to see if the pets could transmit the virus to one another or to human beings.
It is not only COVID-19 that scientists are worried about, but they have also been studying whether multidrug-resistant organisms are transferrable from pets to humans. Cases of humans being infected by pet food have been recorded in many instances. For instance, more than 150 people in different states were infected with a multidrug resistant salmonella. It occurred after they had handled a contaminated pig-ear pet treat. Pet food has also been a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to multiple pieces of research.
Some researchers have therefore resorted to testing raw dog food to establish whether it hosts some of these multidrug-resistant bacteria. The researchers realized that the dog food harbored the antibiotic-resistant Enterococcus faecium, and this bacteria has been responsible for causing a lot of infections worldwide. The diseases are due to humans sharing some antibiotic-resistant species of Enterococcus with dogs. However, the origin of transmission has not been found yet.
Are pets capable of infecting humans with multidrug-resistant bacteria?
Two researchers gathered samples of dog foods from various outlets to ascertain if these contained multidrug-resistant bacteria. Samples of 15 dry foods, 22 wets, and 9 raw frozen food were collected. The three types of food were swabbed in agar plates to culture any living bacteria in it. The plates were then treated with antibiotics, and all the samples in the frozen raw food tested positive for multidrug resistant enterococci.
Only one sample of wet food and none of the dry foods had traces of resistant antibiotics. However, it was expected that the amount of those bacteria in the raw foods would be more than those in dry foods since they are not sterilized. The research also showed that some of the raw foods’ bacterial strains had mobile elements that promote antibiotic resistance. Some of those resistant strains had also been identified in people with a bacterial infection.
However, from the analysis, the overall evidence is weak that a large number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are transferred from pets to humans at levels that can make humans sick. In case the transmission from pets to humans happens, then instances of infections are very rare.
It would be interesting to know what progress biomedical companies like DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO) are making in finding lasting solutions to some of these superbugs threatening human health.
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