New research has found that healthy pets — cats and dogs — may be a source of Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), or humans may be passing them into their pets, according to the study reported by Guardian.
MDROs are bacteria that resist drug treatment from more than one type of antibiotic. The bacteria gradually evolve and become more potent than the drug being used to eliminate them.
According to an estimate, 1.3 million deaths were caused by drug-resistant bacteria and nearly 5 million worldwide deaths in 2019 were linked to such evolved bacteria.
The research — yet to be presented at this weekend’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen — said that the cross-infection risk is low.
Dr Carolin Hackmann from Charité University Hospital Berlin carried out the study on more than 2,800 hospitalised patients and their accompanying pets.
Pets harbouring a number of such bacteria and microorganisms have become a serious concern throughout the world. To conduct a study on this matter, researchers collected samples of hospitalised patients and their companion pets living in their houses.
In this study, the genetic sequencing method allowed researchers to identify the genes which cause drug resistance and 30% of patients were identified as having such bacteria. The cat owners had a 9% of positivity rate whereas, the rate was higher in dog owners at 11%.
The owners were asked to send the samples and in four of the cases, the organisms of same species were found in both pets and owners having the same levels of drug resistance.
Hackmann while talking about its spread was quoted as saying: “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 hospital such as those with a weak immune system and the very young or old.”