German Woman Contracts Superbug from Cat

March 14, 2008 12:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
After struggling with a number of MRSA infections, the German woman recovered when doctors found and treated the bacteria in one of her cats.

30-Second Summary

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the woman and her cat repeatedly re-infected each other with the bacteria.

Although this is one of only a few documented cases of transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus between a human and an animal, let alone a cat, it is the latest in a number of reports about MRSA infections.

The antibiotic-resistant bacteria has caused deaths, shut down schools and raised alarms among health officials.

MRSA is not commonly transmitted between humans and animals, but the Bavarian Health Authority warns doctors to look at pets when dealing with recurrent infections.

However, most diseases can be prevented if owners frequently wash their wands and keep their pets clean and healthy.

The drug-resistant bacteria MRSA killed more than 18,000 people in 2005, but it can also be fatal to animals.

Bella, a dog owned by Jill Moss, a British actress, contracted MRSA after surgery and died at the age of eight. Her owner started the Bella Moss Foundation to raise awareness of the disease.

Health experts say infections are more often transmitted between humans and animals when a person has a weakened immune system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with HIV or AIDS who have a pet keep the animal, but take special precautions to prevent infections.

Headline Links: Study says woman was infected by cat

Background: ‘Killer Hospital-Bred Infection Enters Broader Community’

Reaction: One more thing to consider in MRSA prevention

Related Topic: MRSA a two-way threat

Reference: MRSA, staying healthy with pets and keeping them safe


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