Sick pets may harbor superbugs affecting human health

A Singapore-based study published in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control examined whether sick companion animals can carry drug-resistant bacteria that affect human health.

Researchers analyzed 186 diagnostic reports from a veterinary clinic in Singapore between 2014 to 2016. Of the 186 reports, 82 showed polymicrobial growth, and in total, 359 bacteria were isolated.

Researchers found of the 359 bacteria reported, 45 percent were multidrug-resistant and 18 percent were extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase species.

They also observed resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics among individual species, namely methicillin-resistance among Staphylococcus pseudintermedius and Staphylococcus aureus; fluoroquinolone-resistance among Escherichia coli and carbapenem-resistance among Klebsiella pneumoniae.

"Our analysis suggests that sick pets may contribute to the pool of clinically relevant antibiotic-resistant bacteria and play a role in the spread of antibiotic resistance in Singapore," study authors wrote.

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