Updated: September 23, 2023 by CanCat Eat
Even though most people like to keep cats as pets. They are a lovely creature but humans do get infected by keeping a close contact with them or their faeces. The diseases which are spread by animals through close contacts are generally called zoonoses. Cats spread diseases and infections through bites, scratches or direct contact with humans. The germs are passed on from cats to humans through their mouth or their faeces. It is highly recommended that whenever a person gets injured from a cat’s scratch or a bite, the infected area must be immediately cleaned and washed with soap and water. If there is still some kind of swelling or inflammation then it is best to see a doctor.
Types of infections caused by cats
Cats can cause multiple infections and allergies to humans. The main types of infections caused by cats are the following:
Toxocariasis (Cat roundworm)
Roundworms are mostly found in many animals including cats and dogs. The type of roundworms found in cats are called Toxocara cati which can be easily transmitted to humans. This infection is mostly caused to humans in poorly developed countries where there is poor sanitation and poor drinking water. Roundworms can be transmitted through directly touching the cat faeces and touching your mouth with contaminated hands.
The symptoms of this infection include pneumonia, skin rash, fever and liver infection.
Females infected with roundworm can have severe skin rashes. These skin rashes cause inflammation in the vagina which is why it needs to be treated immediately. Most women who go through the phase of menopause along with these infections have to be treated with immediate effect. For this, doctors recommend medications like Estring. The free coupon for Estring can be taken from a good pharmacy like pricepropharmacy which sells medicines at discounted prices.
Cats must be dewormed on a regular basis. Biopsy of liver tissues are suggested to identify the presence of roundworms.
This is mostly caused by a single-cell parasite caled toxoplasma gondii which gets multiplied in the cells lining the intestines of cats. Cats get this infection by other infected cats or their faeces. Humans catch this infection when they do not sanitize their hands after touching cat faeces with bare hands. Also, gardening and cleaning out cat litter trays may make the humans prone to such infections. Eating vegetables and fruits grown in contaminated soil full of cat faeces may also result in this type of infection.
Expectant mothers are at the risk of danger when they get this infection as they may pass on this infection to their foetus. Complications like msicarriage may happen to infected mothers.
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The symptoms of this infection includes fever, swollen lymph nodes, and feeling of malaise. Some life threatening brain damage may also occur if the infection is left untreated. A CT scan or an MRI scan may determine the presence of this parasite in the system.
This infection can be prevented by following some simple measures like wearing gloves while handling cat litter, washing hands afterwards with anti-bacterial soap, by covering the sandboxes of children, washing the vegetables properly, and cooking meat properly.
Cat scratch disease
When the cat scratches a person’s body part with its claws then the the site of the scratch becomes infected. The bacteria passed on by the cat is called Bartonella henselae. Kittens with sharp claws may pass this infection even with a minor scratch.
Blister can be formed around the scratch with redness. A little swelling may develop on the scratch as well. The prominent symptoms includes fever, headache, loss of appetite, and swollen lymph nodes.
The doctor mostly prescribe pain killers and antibiotics to the people infected with this parasite. The recovery process may last upto 4 to 5 months.
This bacterium can be caused by cats faeces. It mostly hits the intestines. When people do not wash their hands properly after handling cat faeces then this infection may be transmitted to humans. Under cooked meat, unboiled milk, and untreated water may also be the possible sources of this bacterium to be passed on to humans.
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Severe pain in abdomen, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fever are some of the common symptoms of this infection. Severe dehydration can also be caused by this bacterium if left untreated for a long time.
Antibiotics are mostly prescribed by the doctors to treat this infection.
Thsi bacteria is mostly found in the faeces of animals and humans. Eating raw meat can also cause tis bacteria to pass on to humans. This can cause severe food poisoning after consuming raw meat.
Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps are the most common symptom of this type of infection.
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This infection goes away on its own after some time but if the diarrhoea has been prolonged for a long time then medical assistance must be sought. People with less immunity or children must be treated immediately.
Washing your hands properly is the best way to prevent yourself from this disease. The litter trays must be handled with care by covering the hands with gloves.
Giardia and cryptosporidium
The parasites called protozoa cause infections in intestine. Cats can prove to be hosts of these parasites and may become asymptomatic. Transmission of parasite to humans can be possible through direct contact with infected cats.
Intestines can be infected causing severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea. The infected person may feel intense pain in the stomach.
This infection goes away in three to five days but people with poor immune system must take proper care and immediately consult a doctor otherwise in worst case scenario, this infection may prove to be fatal for some. Children, especially must be advised and trained to always wash their hands after handling cat faeces. Proper precautions must be taken while handling cat litter.
All the above mentioned disease can be prevented by keeping in mind cleanliness as much as you can.