Cats and human disease

Humans may acquire Helicobacter heilmannii from their pets. A 38-year-old man with ten ulcers discovered on endoscopy had three different strains of Helicobacter heilmannii, a species commonly found in animals, but rarely in humans. His cat was found to be infected with one of the strains. Helicobacter heilmannii may be present in 80 to 100 percent of cats, dogs, and pigs, and may produce symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Helicobacter pylori, the species of Helicobacter most often found in humans, has been associated with gastric and stomach ulcers, and with stomach cancer. The few persons who have been diagnosed with Helicobacter heilmannii have developed ulcers and cancer, suggesting that this strain acts like its near relative. (Journal of Clinical Microbiology 36:1366-1370, 1998) Copyright 1998 Phylis Austin

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