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Stop sharing your bed with your dog: an incurable superbug has capability to kill 10 million per year

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

Dog owners are being advised not to share beds with their dogs in order to prevent the development of antibodies to an untreatable superbug that may kill 10 million people per year.

The mcr-1 gene is predicted to kill 700,000 people worldwide each year and is believed to be transmitted from dog to owner and maybe from human to animal.

If left uncontrolled, the gene, which was discovered in 2015 in China, is expected to kill ten million people annually by 2050. Scientists have expressed worry that domestic dogs, due to their intimate association with people, are more likely to have mcr-1.

Dog baskets are also high-risk locations due to the fact that the gene is carried in the stomach and transmitted by tiny faecal particles.

A study conducted at the University of Lisbon showed that the mcr-1 gene was present in both the dog and the owner in two of the houses where dogs had tissue infections.

Fecal samples were collected from 126 healthy adults living in 80 households with 102 cats and dogs throughout a two-year period ended in February 2020.

Eight of the dogs and four people tested positive for germs including mcr-1.

Three of the dogs appeared to be healthy, the others having tissue or urinary tract infections.

The study was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases conference this weekend.

Experts said that agricultural regions that use colistin, particularly southern European countries, will be less likely to contract the mcr-1 gene.

Dr Juliana Menezes, who led the research, said:

Colistin is used when all other antibiotics have failed, it is a crucial treatment of last resort.

If bacteria resistant to all drugs acquire this resistance gene, they would become untreatable, and that’s a scenario we must avoid at all costs.

We know that the overuse of antibiotics drives resistance and it is vital that they are used responsibly, not just in medicine but also in veterinary medicine and in farming.

A separate study also revealed that owners who feed their pets certain types of raw dog food containing high levels of colistin is a major source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

For years experts have warned that too much colistin can lead to more mutant genes meaning the drug will be ineffective on humans.

Researchers at the University of Porto analysed samples from a range of types of dog food, finding that 54 percent contained the bacteria Enterococci.

This means a quarter of the samples with Enterococci were resistant to linezolid, another last-resort antibiotic.

Dr Ana Freitas, who conducted the research, said:

The close contact of humans with dogs and the commercialisation of the studied brands in different countries poses an international public health risk.

European authorities must raise awareness about the potential health risks when feeding raw diets to pets and the manufacture of dog food, including ingredient selection and hygiene practices, must be reviewed.

Dog owners should always wash their hands with soap and water right after handling pet food after picking up faeces.

Image Credit: Getty

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