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10 Not-So-Loveable Pet-to-People Illnesses

You might love your cute-as-can-be kitten or your dear doggy to the ends of the earth, but did you know that pets carry diseases that can be transferred to humans? That’s right, while Hammy hamster, Polly the parrot, and Sibyl the snake may provide good companionship and unconditional love on one hand—they can also be the harbingers of several infectious viruses, bacteria, and fungi that can endanger their owners.

Beware of these eight not-so-loveable pet-to-people illnesses…

1. Toxoplasmosis from Cats

No one likes a dirty, clumpy cat litter box—including fluffy! But more importantly, parasites, or toxoplasma gondii, can linger in the feces of an infected feline’s litter box. This is why it’s so important to clean your cat’s litter daily and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Also, toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects in unborn child, which is why pregnant women shouldn’t clean kitty’s litter.

Toxoplasma parasites will cause infected humans to experience flu-like symptoms—including headache, muscles stiffness, swollen glands, fatigue, low-grade fever, and in severe cases, blurred vision (or ocular toxoplasmosis). If you have a healthy immune system, illness will usually pass in 2 weeks without treatment. However, if your immune system is compromised, you should seek immediate medical attention to be treated for this infectious disease.

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