4 health problems that humans can cause in animals

Hyperaxion Apr 14, 2020

Reverse zoonoses are rare, but they can happen. Find out what are some of the diseases that animals can contract from humans.

Although there are still many facts to be unveiled about the new coronavirus, called Sars-CoV-2, a hypothesis about its emergence is already widely accepted: that the virus would have evolved in bats until it managed to “jump” to humans who had contact with the animal’s saliva or feces.

4 health problems that humans can cause in animals
Humans can transmit and cause disease in animals. (Credit: Mehrshad Rajabi / Unsplash).

If the hypothesis is confirmed, Covid-19 will be another example of a zoonosis, a disease transmitted from animal to human. They are relatively common and well known: rabies and toxoplasmosis are among the most remembered. But, although rare, the opposite scenario also occurs. Humans can transmit diseases to animals, the so-called reverse zoonoses. In the specific case of Covid-19, there is still no consensus, although there are reports of animals that would have contracted the disease from humans.

Check out 4 health problems that humans can cause in their pets:

1. Ringworm

Ringworm
(Credit: Mount Nittany Health)

Caused by a fungal infection, ringworm causes itching and round reddish patches on the skin and scalp. In animals, it can lead to hair loss. Transmission occurs through direct contact with the infected or by sharing objects, and it is a two-way street: humans can pass to animals and vice versa.

2. The flu

The flu
(Credit: ABC News).

In 2009, during the H1N1 pandemic, the first fatal case of human-to-cat flu transmission was recorded: the pet had pneumonia due to the viral infection. Since then, it has been recognized that cats and dogs can contract the disease, with symptoms similar to those of humans: difficulty breathing, fever, lack of appetite and, in rare cases, death.

3. Mumps

Mumps
(Credit: Yahoo Lifestyle).

Also caused by a virus, mumps has as main symptoms fever, headache and swelling of the salivary glands in the neck. Although cases are increasingly rare thanks to vaccination, they still occur and the disease can be transmitted to dogs. They have the same symptoms as humans, but they cannot be vaccinated.

4. Cigarette smoke inhalation

Cigarette smoke inhalation
(Credit: Pixabay).

From a technical point of view, it is not exactly a disease, but a potential cause of other diseases, including cancer and obesity. The risks of being a passive smoker, that is, living in an environment where someone smokes, exist for both humans and animals, but studies show that they are more affected than us when exposed to this situation.

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