Bacteria which cause antibiotics to be less effective in treating harmful infections could be passed between pets and their owners, new research suggests.

Hygiene warnings have been issued after scientists found a gene which leads to antimicrobial resistance to infections including streptococci and MRSA in bacteria from cats and dogs.

The discovery at an unnamed animal hospital is the first of its kind in the UK and means pet owners should make sure they wash their hands after handling and cleaning up after their animals, said Public Health England (PHE). The gene, known as optrA, is known to enable bacteria to become highly resistant to linezolid, a “last resort” antibiotic licensed for used to treat infections in humans.

 

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