Worms & Germs Blog

Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

Latest from Worms & Germs Blog

This week’s edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has a summary of the 2016-2018 campylobacterosis outbreak linked to pet store puppies. Nothing is particularly surprising, but that doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing (or depressing). Click here for the complete article. Here’s a (relatively) brief summary: It all started when sequencing of Campylobacter jejuni isolates identified the same Campylobacter strain from puppies from a commercial pet store chain in Florida and…
It’s probably not actually a “new” bacterium but rather recognition of a species that we’ve been mixing up with something else, but regardless, a paper in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (yes, that’s an actual journal) describes a new Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus cornubiensis (Murray et al. 2018). Here’s what we know: The bacterium was isolated from a 64-year-old man with a soft tissue infection. Only a single bacterial colony was present…
No, it’s not pets freaking out and killing people. It’s people staying in harm’s way during natural disasters because they can’t take their pets with them. I saw some data about this from Hurricane Katrina years ago, and while I can’t remember the exact number, an astounding number of deaths were associated with people who didn’t evacuate because they couldn’t take their pets with them. It’s not just a natural disaster issue. Uncounted homeless people…
I realize headline writers are trying to attract attention, and sometimes they don’t know much about the content. As a result, some headlines are quite over the top, and that can freak people out. Here are some examples from the past couple of days: 4 year old girl catches life-threatening infection by trying on shoes while barefoot In this case, the girl got an abrasion on her foot. Any break in the skin can lead…
Human deaths from rabies are common in some developing countries (where tens of thousands die from canine rabies every year) but rare in developed countries. It’s an almost invariably fatal disease, but at the same time it’s almost completely preventable because of the quality of vaccines and post-exposure prophylaxis available. Getting those treatments to the people who need them is the big barrier. In developed countries, it’s not an issue of vaccine access, but usually…
While ticks don’t care about political boundaries, researchers often do (or practical aspects dictate that we must).  That doesn’t mean we can’t work together, though. A recent post at our related site petsandticks.com talks about the differences between US and Canadian tick submissions, and how US residents can submit ticks to the Show Us Your Ticks program south at Oklahoma State University.
Capnocytophaga questions keep coming in. I guess that’s good in some ways, because I usually get a lot of blank stares when I mention that bacterium. A recent article about the risks of Capnocytophaga and exposure to dog saliva includes some good information about the topic, but the statements below highlight some issues: It’s important to see a physician if you’ve been bitten by a dog, especially if it hasn’t been vaccinated against rabies. Not…
It’s that time of year. Mosquitoes have been annoying me for months (I get bitten multiple times a day where I live, even with repellent), but now they’re becoming a bigger issue. While mosquitoes bite all season, some of the diseases they transmit are only a significant risk at certain times of year. One high profile disease that is spread by mosquitoes is Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). As you can guess by the name, the…
“Use it and lose it” is often said when it comes to antibiotic resistance concerns. Every time we use an antibiotic (in a person or animal), there’s some potential for resistance to emerge. The more we use antibiotics, and the worse we use them, the greater the risk, generally speaking. Questions about the (rampant) use of doxycycline for treatment of Lyme disease and the potential for development of resistance come up periodically. For me, it’s…