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Keywords:

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa;
  • zoonosis;
  • animal;
  • pet;
  • infection control;
  • reservoir;
  • dog;
  • cat

Summary

A microbiological study was undertaken to assess the risk of infection to a CF patient from a collection of pet reptiles, particularly atypical mycobacteria. This study helped to verify that the reptiles under the care of the CF patient did not harbour bacterial organisms that would normally be pathogenic to CF patients. However, the chronic carriage of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other pathogens in the CF patient may constitute a greater risk of infection to the animals being handled. Therefore, we recommend stringent infection control precautions by CF patients and their pets, particularly adherence to hand washing and disinfection, when handling the animals, their litter or when working with their immediate environment, to potentially minimize the spread of bacterial and other pathogens from animal to human and vice versa. Detailed risk assessments therefore need to be undertaken by clinicians and veterinarians to detail working models that protect both animals and patients from pathogens originating from the other.