Author Topic: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised  (Read 2453 times)

Ark mom

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Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« on: January 22, 2013, 06:55:56 PM »
Hi guys.   Friend of my mom's friend is very sick from a bacterial infection obtained from a dog bite.

http://www.hillcountrynews.com/news/article_a2a0ae52-60d6-11e2-84fe-0019bb2963f4.html

It doesn't even have to be a bite from a dog, as a simple saliva exchange such as a dog licking an open wound on your hand can transmit infection.  Thankfully, prompt administration of antibiotic prophylaxis after an exposure event can quickly cure the infection.  But, the mortality is quite high in cases not quickly treated.

While reading several articles about the bacteria, I was reminded by the writers several times that immunocompromised individuals should not have dogs.  Read: ME!!!  This both worried and saddened me.  I have two dogs, one that lives outside mostly because she is a little snappy at my kids, the other one is a sweet new poochon (half bichon/half toy poodle) puppy that we got around Christmas.  Oh, he is so cute, smart, sweet, blah, blah, blah!

Has anyone else been worried such things?  I know there have only been 100 such reported cases since it was discovered in the 1970s, but I am still worried that I should even have a dog.  With the kind of luck that I have, I would be the 101st case. 

Okay, after reading these articles I moved onto articles regarding necrotizing fasciitis.  Now, where is my bubble suit.....I need to calm down!!!!  LMBO? 

Seriously though, I would be heart broken to rehome my sweet dogs.  What do you guys think?  Am I letting health anxiety get out of control or is this a reasonable issue that needs to be addressed?
41 yo with Sjogren's (sero-neg), FMS & sub-clinical Graves; Plaquenil, Evoxac, prednisone, Restasis, Cellcept, gabapentin, duloxetine

Autoimmunity

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 08:09:14 PM »
I have 3 dogs, am immunocompromised and I have NO concerns about this!  I wouldn't even worry about it.  I do, however, not let my dogs lick or kiss me, just because I find it totally disgusting.  If they do I wash with soap and water.  The odds of you getting infected are extremely slim.  I'm sorry to hear about your friend, but I wouldn't give up my dogs for anything, they are my children.

lostone

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 08:12:10 PM »
I have two Doxies, I DO NOT let them lick my face or kiss me, I am around my dogs all day and I KNOW where there faces have been,,

Ark mom

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 07:11:15 AM »
Thank guys for your replies.  I guess I shouldn't panic, such is my natural tendency, but it is a reminder to be more vigilant about hand washing and wound care in general now that I am one with a drug induced weakened immune system.  I have never let them lick my face or mouth for sure!

Things always seems worse when it hits home, in this case, though far-removed, a friend of a friend of my mom!
   
41 yo with Sjogren's (sero-neg), FMS & sub-clinical Graves; Plaquenil, Evoxac, prednisone, Restasis, Cellcept, gabapentin, duloxetine

Tivia

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 07:34:15 AM »
Wow I am shocked I never heard of this, now I am paranoid. I read the cdc info on this and apparently I would be considered high risk. This little bacteria lives in the mouths of all dogs and cats, its not ,a well some dog have it some dont thing. And even more scary is the cases on on the rise. Graves disease puts you at risk, I can understand people with no spleen or bad spleen, but why a thyroid disorder.

I lived my life around dogs we had them since forever in my family, I have been bit breaking up dog fights.

Sleepy In Seattle

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 07:59:15 AM »
We have a dog I am constantly loving on, playing with toys (throwing her spitty balls for her, etc). I don't let her lick me, but I am sure I get her spit on me anyway. Also, I am a horse trainer and spend tons of time at the barn, kissing horse noses, playing with the barn dogs, petting the cat, etc. I am on a fairly high dose of methotrexate, and of course plaquenil.

I dunno. Maybe I am taking some kind of crazy risks. But I also know that I would have a HORRIBLE quality-of-life if I stopped doing those things. They are what makes me ME. I will not allow these diseases to take that away from me.

I think we can take reasonable precautions and then just enjoy our animals.

Go look up the statistics for getting killed in your car - I bet the chances of THAT are about 10,000 times higher than the chances of you getting some rare disease from your dog. Are ya gonna get rid of your CAR?!

Nah. Love your dogs, wash your hands, and get on with life!  ;D
Sjogren's, Lupus, Raynaud's, APS
Fatigue, Brain Fog, Autoimmune Hearing Loss, joint/muscle pain, dry mouth, clots in retina, etc
GF, "semi-Paleo" diet, Supplements, Plaquenil 400mg/day, Aspirin 325mg/day (for APS), Methotrexate 7mg/2x per week, Prednisone 3.5mg/day

stillinshockwithsjogrens

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 03:50:35 PM »
The article itself said it is a rare bacterial infection that developed from the bite.  I've never heard of anything like that happening to anyone I know with animals in my lifetime.  Just my personal opinion, it would be an overreaction to get rid of your dogs based on this rare occurrence.  I'm sure it's disconcerting as you personally know the family involved though!  I feel badly for the family.

I must be the only person who lets their dog(s) lick them.  The rare times they lick me and their tongue gets IN my mouth (eewww, I know), I wash my mouth with mouthwash.  Hey, they sleep on the bed, get bathed weekly, brushed and paws wiped daily.  I'm embarrassed to admit, I wouldn't change a thing.  :-[

jessiblah

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 05:44:31 PM »
An infection from a dog bite is not a zoonotic disease. I work at an animal clinic and I deal with nasty bulldogs day in and day out. Bulldogs are nice but they have so many issues especially with their skin. The worst thing i got at work from an animal was ringworm which is a zoonotic disease. If i deal with this nasty crap all day every day and I turn out fine everyone else will too. I do not suggest ever having birds though as their feces has been known to cause all kinds of crazy problems with anyone. We have a client that has birds and has never had an issue and i take care of them often and i don't have any issues from it. I had a friend once whose aunt got cancer from breathing in the fumes from her parrot and it's poop.
You do not have to get rid of your dogs or ever think about this ever. Trust me you will not have an issue. As long as you take care of your animals you will be fine. Having a pet adds years to your life as well as adds happiness.

Ark mom

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 08:51:10 PM »
Actually, an infection from this bacteria is considered a zoonotic infection, bacteria which are found in the mouths of dogs and cats, specifically Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/2/05-0783_article.htm

If your hand was infected in a dog bite wound from your own bacteria on your own skin then it would obviously not be a zoonotic infection.  It is certainly not a common zoonotic infection and is not a worry of most people of good health. 

I am not aware of any complicating health issues in the person who is suffering a great deal from this infection, except for her age.  Apparently being above age 50 is a risk factor. 

I am no longer as worried about things like this, but up until I posted this topic I really had not given any thought to being extra careful about infections because I am taking drugs like prednisone and methotrexate.  Just having Sjogren's itself does not predispose one to an increased risk of infection, per se, but some of the medications used to treat the condition do. 

Unless things worsen for me in some way, I have decided to just keep things with my pets as they are, but just to remind myself to be prudent in hand washing, especially if I have a scratch or cut on my hand and such.  Thank again for all of those who posted to help temper my fears!  Peace and hugs. 
41 yo with Sjogren's (sero-neg), FMS & sub-clinical Graves; Plaquenil, Evoxac, prednisone, Restasis, Cellcept, gabapentin, duloxetine

irish

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Re: Zoonotic diseases in immunocompromised
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 09:02:33 PM »
Anyone who is immunosuppressed whether from chemo or autoimmune or other diseases can develop infections from the strangest things at any time.

The best way to live is to keep a clean house and wash your hands. Watch that you don't eat raw or uncooked meat and fish as there are "bugs" that can cause normal people trouble at times and the immunosuppressed can run into more problems.

Also, be aware that there are the opportunistic infections. I had one of these back in 2005. It was called Mycobacterium kansasii and is a bug that belongs to the TB family but is not communicable. It is still not good for you and can be fatal. I had it in my liver, spleen and lungs and had to take some special antibiotics (3 different kinds, 7-8 tabs a day) for one year to get rid of it.

Another bug that is opportunistic is the pseudomonas a. This is a bug that is found in the air, water, dirt (same as the mycobacterium kansasii) and has become quite popular in the hospital environment. It is communicable but more choosy in its victims as most of the time it is the elderly, infirmed, immunosuppressed people who get this. My hubby has low IgG levels and another genetic problem that affects ability to fight infection called Mannose binding lectin plus he has COPD. People with COPD get the pseudomonas and it stays in their lungs forever and is quite frequently the cause of death due to overwhelming lung infection that has become resistant to antibiotics.

Don't panic, just be aware that if you are immunosuppressed or seem to get more infections than you used to, that you need to watch the world and where you are and what you are doing a little more closely. IF you are suspicious of some problem fighting infections I would advise you to see immunology or even hematology and have a workup that can tell you what is going on with your blood cells. Good luck. irish