Can I get viral skin infections from pets?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Many infections caused by contact with pets, the environment around pets or pet waste are bacterial, parasitic or fungal, but a few are viral. Diseases caused by contact with animals are called zoonoses. By far, most skin infections caused by contact with pets are fungal or parasitic in nature (ringworm, scabies, etc.); viruses that can be spread from animals to humans are not considered skin infections (such as rabies or norovirus). Most people will not need to avoid having a pet in order to stay healthy, but some people should take extra precautions around animals so that they don't get sick. These people include infants, young children, pregnant women, people with HIV/AIDS and organ transplant patients. Your doctor can advise you on specific steps you should take in order to avoid potential infections.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.