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An Urban Experience
Although only a few cases of larval migrans have been reported in humans, it should be discouraged to keep raccoons as pets.
Encephalitozoon cuniculi
Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a microsporidial infection
that is commonly associated with disease in rabbits. In humans, severe neurological disease has been reported due to infection with E. cuniculi. Besides neurological signs, AIDS patients were shown to display signs of hepatitis and nephritis. In some of these patients E. cuniculi could be isolated from their urine. The isolates were identified to be of rabbit origin. It should therefore be discouraged to AIDS patients to keep rabbits as pets.
Treatment of E. cuniculi is difficult because of its intracellular location. Albendazole is considered to be very efficacious against E. cuniculi in humans, and
may eliminate the infection completely. In rabbits, most research has been performed with fenbendazole. The latter drug is therefore most commonly used in veterinary medicine.
VIRAL DISEASES
Rabies
Rabies is caused by a Lyssavirus. The virus replicates in all warm-blooded animals, and infection is fatal in nearly all cases. Transmission of the virus usually occurs when the infected animal is moribund. Each year, between 50,000 and 60,000 people die from rabies. Over 90% of these deaths occur in the tropics, resulting from canine bites. Bat bites in Europe and North America, however, are responsible for infections in humans. In 2005, a rabbit was confirmed to have died from rabies as well.
Veterinarians who work in areas where rabies is endemic should be vaccinated. Even when you have been vaccinated, treatment against rabies should commence directly after possible exposure to the virus. Exposure may either consist of a bite from a rabid animal, or contact with saliva of such an animal. It is therefore advised to never touch a bat, whether it is dead or alive. Rabies immune globulin and rabies vaccine are included in the treatment protocol.
Treatment should not only be given to people with known contact to the virus but also when a bat is found within the room of a sleeping person, an unattended child, and / or a mentally disabled or intoxicated person.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM)
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is caused by an Arenavirus. LCM is a common infection in laboratory mice, rats and hamsters, but is rarely transmitted to humans. Approximately 5% of wild house mice are infected with LCM. Excreta of these mice are considered the most
likely source of transmission of LCM infections in pet rodents and humans. Approximately 5% of humans have
antibodies against LCM, indicating that they have once been infected with the virus. The great majority of LCM infections is benign and may give rise to symptoms such as fever, malaise, coryza, muscular pain, and bronchitis. Meningeal forms are also possible and may include headache, paralysis, and personality changes. In rare instances severe meningoencephalomyelitis may lead to death of the patient.
LCM infections can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. Intrauterine infections may lead to hydrocephalus and retardation of the infant.
Monkey Pox
In 2003, a total of 71 persons were infected with monkey pox. These people had either been in direct contact with prairie dogs or had been on the premises where prairie dogs were kept. The incubation period ranged from 1
to 31 days. These prairie dogs appear to have been infected by Gambian giant rats and dormice which had been imported from Ghana. The presence of monkey pox was confirmed in prairie dogs, a Gambian giant rat, some dormice and rope squirrels. Because many of the imported rodents could not be traced, no human cases of monkey pox infection could be directly linked to these other rodents.
FUNGAL DISEASES
Dermatomycosis
Dermatophytosis is probably the most common zoonotic disease transmitted by pet mammals. The most common dermatophyte in exotic pets is Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Infection may take place either through direct contact with an infected animal, which may be an asymptomatic carrier, or via an infected environment. The typical lesions in humans are centrifugally growing, roughly circular areas of variable erythema, scaling and desquamation. A central healing area may be present. While Microsporum canis generally causes a mild inflammation, T. mentagrophytes frequently produces more severe lesions.
Infections in humans are generally self-limiting, and respond well to topical imidazole treatment. Terbinafine is an allylamine antifungal that has proven to be effective local as well as systemic, often with a more rapid response time and / or higher response rate than the imidazoles.
PREVENTION OF ZOONOSIS
Of the list of potential zoonotic agents, many are not frequently associated with infections in humans. The humans which are at greatest risk are YOPI’s (i.e.
Young [below 5 years of age], Old, Pregnant, Immuno- compromised). It should be advised that people who belong to this group do not keep (exotic) pets, especially those which are less frequently kept.
 42ND WORLD SMALL ANIMAL VETERINARY ASSOCIATION CONGRESS AND FECAVA 23RD EUROCONGRESS
  





































































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