Pets can be source of staph germs

March 13, 2008 7:40:26 AM PDT
Scientists don't know whether infection comes from pets, or people. That's according to a brief report in being published in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine.

It tells of a German woman repeatedly battled the same strain of drug-resistant superbug MRSA until her cat was tested and treated.

It's one of the few documented cases of transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus between a person and a cat.

Several previous cases of MRSA infections in dogs and their owners have been reported, as well as a cluster in pigs and farmers in the Netherlands.

Action News first reported on this linkage in November 2007, after veterinarians around the country reported a rise in MRSA skin infections.

In some cases, only pets, and no family members had the infections.

Veterinary experts say cats and dogs are both susceptible to the bacteria.

Experts at Cornell University veterinary school believe MRSA is moving from humans to animals.