Multi-drug-resistant organisms may be transmitted between wholesome dogs and cats and their hospitalized house owners.
Luckily, solely a small variety of instances have been discovered suggesting pets will not be a significant supply of antibiotic-resistant infections in hospital sufferers.
Wholesome dogs and cats may very well be passing on multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs; micro organism that resist therapy with a couple of antibiotic) to their hospitalized house owners, and likewise, people may very well be transmitting these harmful microbes to their pets, based on new analysis being introduced at this 12 months’s European Congress of Scientific Microbiology & Infectious Illnesses (ECCMID) in Copenhagen, Denmark (April 15-18).
The research of over 2,800 hospital sufferers and their companion animals is by Dr. Carolin Hackmann from Charité College Hospital Berlin, Germany, and colleagues.
“Our findings verify that the sharing of multidrug-resistant organisms between companion animals and their owners is possible,” says Dr. Hackmann. “However, we identified only a handful of cases suggesting that neither cat nor dog ownership is an important risk factor for multidrug-resistant organism colonization in hospital patients.”
The function of pets as potential reservoirs of MDROs is a rising concern worldwide. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when infection-causing microbes (reminiscent of micro organism, viruses, or fungi) evolve to turn into immune to the drug designed to kill them. Estimates recommend that antimicrobial-resistant infections brought on almost 1.3 million deaths and have been related to practically 5 million deaths around the globe in 2019.
On this case management research, researchers wished to search out out whether or not pets (ie, cats and dogs) play a job within the an infection of hospital sufferers with MDROs.
They centered on the most typical superbugs in hospital sufferers—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), third era cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales (3GCRE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE), that are immune to a number of antibiotics together with penicillin and cephalosporins.
Between June 2019 and September 2022, nasal and rectal swabs have been collected from 2,891 sufferers hospitalized in Charité College Hospital Berlin (1,184 sufferers with earlier colonization or colonization on admission and 1,707 newly admitted sufferers as controls), and from any dogs and cats that lived of their households.
Genetic sequencing was used to determine each the species of bacteria in each sample, and the presence of drug-resistance genes. Whole genome sequencing was used to confirm the possible sharing of resistant bacteria.
Participants were also asked about well-known risk factors for MDROs (e.g., recent MDRO infections or use of antibiotics, recent hospital stays, presence of urinary or central venous catheters), as well as information about the number of pets in the household, the closeness of contact, and pet health.
Overall, 30% (871/2,891) of hospital patients tested positive for MDROs, and 70% (2,020/2,891) tested negative. The rate of dog ownership was 11% (93/871) and cat ownership 9% (80/871) in those who tested MDRO-positive, and 13% (267/2,020 and 253/2,020 respectively) in MDRO-negatives.
All 626 pet owners were asked to send throat and stool swab samples of their pets. Overall, 300 pet owners sent back samples from 400 pets. Of these samples, 15% (30/203) of dogs and 5% (9/197) of cats tested positive for at least one MDRO. In four cases, MDROs were phenotypically matching (MDROs were the same species and showed the same antibiotic resistance) between pets and their owners.
Whole genome sequencing confirmed that only one of the matching pairs was genetically identical in a dog and its owner. The matching pathogen was 3GCR Escherichia coli (common in the intestines of healthy people and animals).
“Although the level of sharing between hospital patients and their pets in our study is very low, carriers can shed bacteria into their environment for months, and they can be a source of infection for other more vulnerable people in the hospital such as those with a weak immune system and the very young or old,” says Dr. Hackmann.
This is an observational study and cannot prove that close contact with pets causes colonization with MDROs, but only suggest the possibility of co-carriage, while the direction of transfer is unclear. The authors point to several limitations, including a possible under-reporting of MDRO colonization in pets due to problems in taking swab samples, which was done by the pet owners themselves. Finally, the study results apply to the setting of hospital patients in an urban area and therefore may not be applicable to the general population or MDRO high-risk groups like livestock farmers.
- “Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis” by Antimicrobial Resistance Collaborators, 19 January 2022, The Lancet.
Meeting: European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) 2023
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