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Diseases Transmitted by Less Common House Pets

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  • Author: Bruno B. Chomel1
  • Editor: David Schlossberg2
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616; 2: Philadelphia Health Department, Philadelphia, PA
  • Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
  • Received 11 March 2015 Accepted 31 July 2015 Published 06 November 2015
  • Bruno B. Chomel, bbchomel@ucdavis.edu
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  • Abstract:

    Beside dogs and cats, the most common pets worldwide, an increasing number of pocket pets and exotic pets are making their way to more and more households, especially in North America and Europe. Although many of these animals make appropriate pets, they also can be a source of many zoonotic diseases, especially in young children and immunocompromised individuals. Some of these diseases can be life threatening, such as rabies, rat bite fever, and plague. Some others are quite common, because of the frequency of the pathogens harbored by these species, such as salmonellosis in reptiles and amphibians. Appropriate knowledge of the zoonotic agents carried by these “new” pet species is strongly recommended prior to acquiring pocket or exotic pets. Furthermore, adopting wildlife as pets is strongly discouraged, because it is always a risky action that can lead to major health issues.

  • Citation: Chomel B. 2015. Diseases Transmitted by Less Common House Pets. Microbiol Spectrum 3(6):IOL5-0012-2015. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.

Key Concept Ranking

Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome
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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
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Human Infectious Diseases
0.42598748
Infectious Diseases
0.4070525
0.5066966

References

1. Burgos-Rodriguez AG. 2011. Zoonotic diseases of primates. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 14:557–575, viii. [PubMed][CrossRef]
2. Chomel B. 1992. Zoonoses of house pets other than dogs, cats and birds. Pediatr Infect Dis J 11:479–487. [PubMed][CrossRef]
3. Gauthier DT. 2015. Bacterial zoonoses of fishes: a review and appraisal of evidence for linkage between fish and human infections. Vet J 203:27–35. [PubMed][CrossRef]
4. Gonzalez JP, Prugnolle F, Leroy E. 2013. Men, primates, and germs: an ongoing affair. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 365:337–353. [PubMed][CrossRef]
5. Haenen OL, Evans JJ, Berthe F. 2013. Bacterial infections from aquatic species: potential for and prevention of contact zoonoses. Rev Sci Tech 32:497–507. [PubMed]
6. Hill WA, Brown JP. 2011. Zoonoses of rabbits and rodents. Vet Clin Exot Anim 14:519–531. [PubMed][CrossRef]
7. Lehane L, Rawlin GT. 2000. Topically acquired bacterial zoonoses from fish: a review. Med J Aust 173:256–259. [PubMed]
8. Pignon C, Mayer J. 2011. Zoonoses of ferrets, hedgehogs and sugar gliders. Vet Clin Exot Anim 14:533–549. [PubMed][CrossRef]
9. Riley PY, Chomel BB. 2005. Hedgehog zoonoses. Emerg Infect Dis 11:1–5. [PubMed][CrossRef]
10. Smith KM, Smith KF, D’Auria JP. 2012. Exotic pets: health and safety issues for children and parents. J Pediatr Health Care 26:e2–6. [PubMed][CrossRef]
11. Soulsbury CD, Iossa G, Kennell S, Harris S. 2009. The welfare and suitability of primates kept as pets. J Appl Anim Welf Sci 12:1–20. [PubMed][CrossRef]
12. Wagner JE, Farrar PL. 1987. Husbandry and medicine of small rodents. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 17:1061–1087. [PubMed][CrossRef]
13. Zouza MJ. 2011. One health: zoonoses in the exotic animal practice. Vet Clin Exot Anim 14:421–426. [PubMed][CrossRef]
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/content/journal/microbiolspec/10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
2015-11-06
2017-08-17

Abstract:

Beside dogs and cats, the most common pets worldwide, an increasing number of pocket pets and exotic pets are making their way to more and more households, especially in North America and Europe. Although many of these animals make appropriate pets, they also can be a source of many zoonotic diseases, especially in young children and immunocompromised individuals. Some of these diseases can be life threatening, such as rabies, rat bite fever, and plague. Some others are quite common, because of the frequency of the pathogens harbored by these species, such as salmonellosis in reptiles and amphibians. Appropriate knowledge of the zoonotic agents carried by these “new” pet species is strongly recommended prior to acquiring pocket or exotic pets. Furthermore, adopting wildlife as pets is strongly discouraged, because it is always a risky action that can lead to major health issues.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

U.S. pet population. Data from 2013–2014 National Pet Owners Survey (American Pet Products Association). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f1

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

in a pet rabbit. Courtesy of the Missouri House Rabbit Society (Kansas City, MO). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f2

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

Rabbit with cheyletiellosis. Reproduced from Mellgren M, Bergvall K. 2008. 1, doi:10.1186/1751-0147-50-1, with permission. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f3

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 4
FIGURE 4

Monkeypox in a person during an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1996–1997. Image courtesy of the CDC-PHIL (ID#12779). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f4

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 5
FIGURE 5

Cowpox lesion with necrotic ulcer on the outside of the right arm showing regional solid axillary lymphadenopathy. Reprinted from Favier A-L et al. 2011. 186-194, with permission. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f5

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 6
FIGURE 6

Petechial and purpuric lesions on the foot of a rat bite fever patient. Reproduced from Elliott SP. 2007. 13-22, with permission. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f6

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 7
FIGURE 7

Young four-toed African pygmy hedgehog. Photo credit: Michal Klimont, Copyright: CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f7

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 8
FIGURE 8

Bullous tinea manuum after hedgehog exposure. Reproduced from Rosen T. 2000. 936-938, with permission. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f8

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 9
FIGURE 9

Ownership of exotic pets in the United States by household and by individual pet. Courtesy of http://veterinarybusiness.dvm360.com. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f9

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Image of FIGURE 10
FIGURE 10

Occurrence of “reptile-exotic-pet-associated-salmonellosis” serovars in children less than 3 years-old in the European Union, 2007–2010. Arizona includes subspecies IIIa and subspecies IIIb. Arrows indicate where REPAS cases have increased in 2010 compared to previous years. Reproduced from Pees M, Rabsch W, Plenz B, Fruth A, Prager R, Simon S, Schmidt V, Münch S, Braun PG. Evidence for the transmission of Salmonella from reptiles to children in Germany, July 2010 to October 2011. . 2013;(46):pii:20634. Article DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES2013.18.46.20634, with permission. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015.f10

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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Tables

Generic image for table
TABLE 1

Zoonoses potentially transmitted by pet rabbits and rodents

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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TABLE 2

Major zoonoses potentially transmitted by reptiles and aquarium fish

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
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TABLE 3

Major zoonoses transmitted by ferrets

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015
Generic image for table
TABLE 4

Major zoonoses transmitted by nonhuman primates

Source: microbiolspec November 2015 vol. 3 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.IOL5-0012-2015

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