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Recognize the Potential Dangers of Insects and Pets at Home

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Pets and insects in the home can pose a risk of infection. Pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile can be found in the feces, fur, paws and mouths of pets. In addition, pets can also carry species of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that are transmitted to humans. Pets like cats and dogs can harbor fungi in their fur. Not only pets, but also insects can carry viruses, bacteria and parasites that can be transmitted through bites or feces.

A study in the United States showed that 39% of pet dogs can carry Campylobacter and 10-27% can carry Salmonella. Another study in Canada also showed that C. difficile was the most commonly isolated pathogen from pet dogs. Out of 102 feces samples, 58 C. difficile were isolated and 41 samples were found to be disease-causing. Furthermore, there were many reports of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) transmissions from household pets to humans. From these case reports, it can be concluded that pet infections are frequently and highly transmissible to humans. Many pets do not appear sick but carry infectious agents.

Pathogens can be transmitted from animals to humans in several ways, such as handling animals and not washing hands. Infections can also be transmitted through pathogens in the feces of animals living in the environment, especially in humid areas. Just like pathogens from humans, pathogens from animals such as Cryptosporidium can survive and remain alive in the environment for up to 12 months. Infections due to fungi such as ringworm can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with animals. In addition, infections can be transmitted by animals in the kitchen. The kitchen is the most important place to guard against insects. It is a place for cooking, storing food, and even as a dining room so it needs to be kept clean, tidy and pest-free.

Infections carried by pets are more susceptible to certain groups. The elderly have a higher risk of infection, which is often exacerbated by other diseases such as diabetes, complications etc. Also, patients recently discharged from hospital, the HIV/AIDS community, and pregnant women and infants.

After knowing the dangers of animal-sourced infections at home, we need to take precautions such as washing our hands after contact with animals. Other infection prevention measures can be taken by separating pet and human feeding utensils, cleaning animal cages regularly, using gloves and towels when cleaning animal feces, washing garbage cans regularly, and keeping the kitchen clean. Kitchen cleanliness can be maintained by removing garbage regularly, storing food properly, and wiping down tables and cooking counters. In addition, it is important to keep floor surfaces touched by animals hygienic by using sanitizers or disinfectants.

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