Healthy Pets And People

One Health Organization > Living Healthy with or near Dogs & Cats > Healthy Pets And People

There are many positive benefits of owning a pet; however, it’s important to know that some animals may carry germs that can be spread to people and cause illness.

Pets can appear to be healthy even when they have germs. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family healthy.

Picking the Right Pet

Before you purchase or adopt a pet, make sure that it is the right one for you and your family. CDC recommends the following:

  • Households with children under 5 years of age should not own reptiles, such as turtles, or amphibians, such as frogs.
  • Pregnant women should avoid contact with pet rodents to prevent exposure tolymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which is a virus that can cause birth defects.
  • Pregnant women should avoid adopting or handling stray cats, especially kittens. They particularly should not clean litter boxes to avoid getting toxoplasmosis from them.
  • Immune-compromised persons and persons with HIV infection or AIDS should take extra precautions when choosing and handling pets. Talk to your veterinarian and health care provider to help make this decision.

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