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Zoonosis & Human Health

  • Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacterial microorganism, Bacillus anthracis. This type of bacterium can develop small spherical bodies called spores within the bacterial cell.

  • Antibodies are specialised proteins (immunoglobulins) that circulate in the blood stream. They are produced by a white blood cell called a plasma cell.

  • Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of human bacterial enteritis. Poultry and meat products are the main sources of human infection which is acquired by eating under cooked chicken or other food contaminated during preparation.

  • All cats have a large number of bacteria, such as Pasteurella multocida, in their mouths which can be transmitted to the bite wound. An infected bite wound can become red, swollen and painful with a risk of spread of infection elsewhere in the body.

  • Cat scratch disease, or cat scratch fever, is a disease of humans, not of cats. A cat scratch is often associated with the disease, however this is not believed to be the means by which infection occurs. Recent evidence suggests that the major route of infection is by flea bite. The disease is caused by a bacterium-like organism called Bartonella henselae. Bartonella henselae is sensitive to a number of antibiotics.

  • Coccidiosis describes Infection with a protozoan (one-celled) organism known as a coccidian. These are microscopic parasites living within cells of the intestinal lining.

  • The demodectic mite usually resides in the hair follicles of the skin and can cause Demodectic mange. This is the most common form of mange in dogs.

  • Giardia is sometimes confused with worms because they invade the gastrointestinal tract and can cause diarrhoea. They are not worms; instead, they are one-celled parasites classified as protozoa and have been largely overlooked until recently.

  • The harvest mite (Trombicula autumnalis) is a mite the larval stage of which causes considerable discomfort to cats and dogs during the late summer and autumn. The mite is not common in Australia and only rural cats are usually affected. The fluid injected by the mite is very irritant causing the cat to scratch, bite and lick which may result in extensive self-inflicted injury. Your vet will give you appropriate treatment.

  • Hookworms are parasites which get their name from the hook-like mouthparts they use to attach to the intestinal wall. Despite their small size, they suck large amounts of blood from the tiny vessels in the intestinal wall.

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