Some pet-owners share their beds with their animals or kiss them on the mouth as a sign of affection, but these age-old practices may be exposing them to dangerous illnesses, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control.
The study, slated for the February edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, found specific situations in which seemingly healthy pets had transmitted mild to severe illnesses to their owners, according to the CDC.
One man who had recently undergone a hip replacement contracted meningitis when his dog, who he was sleeping in bed with, licked his surgical wound. Another nine-year-old boy developed the plague after sleeping in bed with a flea-ridden cat.
For those who enjoy the closeness they share with their pets, all hope is not lost. The CDC mentions that the risk of contracting disease from animals can be reduced by ensuring pets stay healthy and have regular veterinary visits.
According to a study by the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, 61 percent of diseases are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted between humans and animals. Those frequently surrounded by animals frequently risk encountering these diseases and may want to ensure they have quality health and life insurance policies.