Guinea pigs aren't often associated with being a danger to society, but a new report states that they can make people sick with pneumonia.
The Daily Mail has reported that, in the last three years, three people have been hospitalized after contracting life-threatening pneumonia from their guinea pigs.
All three cases studied occurred in the Netherlands, where two men and one woman, came down with the illness after coming in physical contact with their guinea pigs. All three patients were in their 30s, and two of the three patients were admitted to an intensive care unit for their condition.
Many people probably don't realize it, but pink eye, which guinea pigs sometimes get, is actually symptomatic of the harmful bacteria that these little rodents carry, which is responsible for pneumonia. Of the three patients studied, one wasn't even a guinea pig owner, but a veterinary technician who had come in contact with guinea pigs being treated for pink eye and nasal inflammation.
Because these instances are so uncommon in the relative scheme of things, you probably don't have to worry about catching anything from your own furry friend, as long as you take the proper preventative measures to ensure your own safety.
"We should be washing our hands after pet contact, and certain high-risk people - like those with compromised immune systems - should avoid contact with pets," said chair of infectious disease at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Steven Gordon, in an interview with the outlet.
"Many guinea pig owners are exposed to this pathogen, but few are going to develop symptoms to the point of needing hospitalization."
For more information about guinea pigs and what it takes to own one, check out this helpful guide that covers all things guinea pig, particularly, the silkie variety.
What do you think of these reports? Do you have a guinea pig? Tell us in the comments below.
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